Een bericht wat nog niet echt de nederlandse media heeft gehaald, het betreft wederom een misterieuze ziekte onder Chinese varkens.
Hieronder een verslag van de Herald Tribune – Asia Pacific
The international and Hong Kong authorities said Monday that they had received little information from mainland Chinese officials about a mysterious ailment killing pigs in southeastern China or about Chinese wheat gluten contaminated with plastic scrap, raising questions again about whether Beijing is willing to share data on global health issues.
The Chinese government, and particularly the government of Guangdong Province, next to Hong Kong, suffered heavy criticism in 2003 after concealing the SARS virus for the first four months after it first emerged in Foshan, 150 kilometers, or 95 miles, northwest of Hong Kong. After SARS spread to Hong Kong and around the world, top Chinese officials promised to improve disclosure.
But officials in Hong Kong as well as at the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization said Monday that they had received practically no information about the latest pig deaths and limited details about wheat gluten contamination.
Because pigs can catch many of the same diseases as people, notably bird flu, the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization maintain global networks to track and investigate unexplained patterns of pig deaths. State-controlled media in China have carried a few reports on the wheat gluten problem but almost nothing on the pig deaths.
A man answering the phones at the city government of Gaoyao, located 230 kilometers to the northwest of Hong Kong, confirmed late Monday afternoon that pigs were dying there. The man declined to give his name.
Hong Kong media were full of lurid accounts Monday of pigs staggering around with blood pouring from their bodies in Gaoyao and neighboring Yunfu, both in Guangdong Province. Apple, a daily newspaper here, said that up to 80 percent of the pigs had died in the area, that peasants were engaged in panic selling of ailing animals at deep discounts and that pig carcasses were floating down the river.
Dr. Kwok Ka-ki, the medical community’s representative in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, said that the Chinese government needed to share information fully about the pig deaths, in particular with the Chinese public as well as with Hong Kong, which Britain returned to China in 1997.
“They definitely need to tell the public but also people in the city as to the extent of the outbreak, how is the disease being controlled and the impact on public health,” he said. “It would help a lot to relieve the worry, and it would help the rest of China to fight the disease.”
There have been no reports of people becoming ill from the disease. But the SARS experience has left Hong Kong with lasting jitters about mysterious diseases in mainland China, and the media reports fostered considerable concern here.
“It’s very scary,” said Allen Lee, a longtime senior politician who is now a television talk show host.
Medical experts said that the extent of the reported bleeding from the pigs, including bloody skin lesions, did not sound like common symptoms of bird flu, but added that the pig deaths needed to be investigated. Because pigs can be infected with many avian and human influenza viruses, the most popular scientific model for how avian influenza viruses cause pandemics in humans is that human and avian influenza viruses exchange genetic material when they infect a pig at the same time.
Monday was the last day of the weeklong May Day holiday in China, so most government and business offices were closed. But Hong Kong media reported that pigs had begun dying in Yunfu after Chinese New Year celebrations in February, although it was only recently that the disease had begun spreading.
The Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department officials said Monday that the Guangdong authorities had told them only that no live pigs were being shipped from the Yunfu and Gaoyao area to Hong Kong.
A spokesman for the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said that there were no signs of suspicious deaths among pigs in Hong Kong, and referred questions about pigs in Guangdong to the food department.
Both departments said last week in written responses to questions that they were not testing wheat gluten imported to Hong Kong for melamine scrap. The presence of melamine in pet food has been linked to the deaths of as many as 4,000 cats and dogs in the United States, and prompted the culling of chickens that ate contaminated feed.
Hong Kong officials expressed surprise Monday when told that the official Xinhua press agency had briefly reported a month ago that the mainland had begun nationwide testing of wheat gluten for melamine. Animal feed dealers in northeastern China said late last month that the two main destinations for feed mixed with melamine had been the Yangtze delta region near Shanghai and the Pearl River delta region near Hong Kong.
Bron: Herald Tribune – Asia Pacific