Sunday, 6 April 2014
China has learned the lessons from SARS, praised by WHO for H7N9 reponse
China's response to the H7N9 influenza outbreaks has been praised the World Health Organisation for the sound preparedness, prompt communication and collaboration with international groups. In the latest WHO Bulletin the agency says China has learned the right lessons from the mistakes made with SARS and now has a robust and open system for dealing with infectious disease outbreaks that can be a model for other countries. After SARS, China reformed its systems to improve disease surveillance and make the country’s response to future disease outbreaks both swift and effective, WHO says. The improvements to the system were evident when H7N9 influenza emerged in March 2013. The Chinese surveillance system based on Centres for Disease Control and Prevention allowed the problem to be quickly identified, and there was a good response in terms of follow up testing and identification of new cases. prompt moves were taken to reduce risk by closing poultry markets, and appropriate risk information was disseminated quickly to the public, the report says. It also welcomes the close cooperation between the National Health and Family Planning Commission and WHO in responding to the H7N9 threat. China was praised for being open about the sharing of information about H7N9 to the public and with the wider scientific community, with no barriers to publishing the results of virological and epidemiological investigations in scientific journals "China’s prompt response to the emergence of the A(H7N9) virus as a human pathogen – which spanned multiple governmental departments and ministries at national, provincial and municipal level – was mainly the result of strong leadership in a critical situation." the WHO report concludes.