Sunday, May 04, 2008

China Issues Virus Alert as Olympics Torch Touches Down

By Samuel Spencer
May 03, 2008

China issued a nationwide virus alert as 22 children were reported to have died from a severe virus outbreak in eastern part of the country.

The virus alert came on the same day that the Olympics Torch touched down on Macau, marking a return to the Chinese mainland.

The virus is believed to be the Enterovirus 71 (EV71) and affects the brain,heart and lung, sometimes causing serious damage. It is believed to have broken out in China before, but not to this degree. The outbreak is the latest worry for China's ruling Communist regime, which hosts this year's summer Olympics.

Saturday's alarm came after the number of those infected by EV71 skyrocketed in Fuyang city, which has been most affected. The virus mostly affects young children.

Parents have accused the local authorities of covering up the outbreak. The first cases were believed to have been reported in March, but authorities are believed to have taken measures and issue alerts only after the outbreak spread at a breakneck speed earlier this week.

The virus outbreak has stoked fears of a repeat of the SARS epidemic, which swept across China in 2003. The Chinese regime reacted to the SARS epidemic with a heavy media coverup until it spread like wildfire across China, its neighboring countries and around the world, at which point the regime reversed course and claimed to have taken action and "contained SARS" a few months later.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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