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Chinese Vice Premier calls for tightened medical measures to combat schistosomiasis

09-07-2010 16:09 BJT

WUHAN, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Monday urged medical authorities to increase prevention and control measures against schistosomiasis, as lingering rainfall and massive floods in the country's south have increased outbreaks of the disease.

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang addresses at a meeting on preventing
schistosomiasis in central China's Hubei Province, Sept. 6, 2010. Li urged medical
authorities to increase prevention and control measures against schistosomiasis on
Monday, as lingering rainfall and massive floods in the country's south have
increased outbreaks of the disease. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

Priority should be given to upgrading the capacity of grass-roots level medical institutions in disease prevention and control, he said, adding medical authorities should distribute free medicine to prevent contracting the disease as well as treating patients as early as possible.

He further said medical costs should be reduced or exempted for the poor and efforts should be made to raise people's awareness in disease prevention and control.

Schistosomiasis, a wasting disease that causes blood loss and tissue damage, afflicted many Chinese before the 1960s due to widespread below-standard waste treatment in rural latrines, fishing boats and water.

People who work or play in areas where the water contains freshwater snails are especially prone to be affected by the water-borne parasitic worm disease, commonly known as snail fever.

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