As an important mission for Guangdong government in this year, capability of infectious diseases control and prevention has been strengthened after Guangdong faced a series of challenges, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Dengue Fever and H5N6.
Prof. Zhong Nanshan, Director of State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease（呼吸疾病国家重点实验室）, leader of the medical team fighting against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndromes (SARS) outbreak in China twelve years ago, has been concentrating on studying respiratory and infectious diseases since he devoted in medical science.
In the exclusive interview with Newsgd.com, Prof. Zhong Nanshan shared his opinion on Guangdong’s ability on controlling and preventing infectious diseases.
Guangdong’s improvement in resisting infectious diseases
It is hard to forget the lesson SARS taught in 2002: more than 1500 people were infected in Guangdong, while nearly 4700 cases in China at that time.
Prof. Zhong indicated that Guangdong has a huge improvement on infectious diseases control and prevention after 12 years, including upgrading medical facilities and paying more attention on preventing the disease outbreak.
Prof. Zhong Nanshan, Academician of China Engineering Academy [Newsgd.com/Emma]
“I do not believe that we will meet the same situation as SARS again,” Prof. Zhong said, “That situation was caused by lacking knowledge about disease control and prevention and we did not know how to reduce its spread, let alone treatment. We have big improvements now.”
“Currently, we are establishing a platform for monitoring and testing pneumonia with unknown reason so that we can discover etiological agent and new variation; furthermore, patients with infectivity would be isolated strictly and medical staffs must wear protective clothing and respirator for preventing infection.”
In order to control infectious disease outbreak, Qingyuan government killed and disposed more than 30 thousand birds when they discovered H5N6 at a farm in August this year.
Although there is no evidence that H5N6 can be spread among people, the virus has already mutated from bird - bird to bird – human, which could cause death.
“We should raise our vigilance and keep monitoring once the virus has mutated.” Prof. Zhong said.
“The monitoring of H5N6 at present shows that Guangdong has laid more emphasis on controlling the source of disease, through which we can stop the spread of disease at the early stage. ”
Prof. Zhong introduced that the main policy of diseases control and prevention is “block the overseas diseases from importation & stop the spread of domestic virus”.（外堵输入，内防扩散）.
No matter for the imported case or autochthonous infection, isolation is the best way for controlling the diseases according to Prof. Zhong.
For example, Guangdong allowed exhibitors from epidemic areas of Ebola to take part in Canton Fair last year, however, the exhibitors needed to be isolated and to accept medical observation for two weeks to ensure they did not carry Ebola virus.
In Prof. Zhong’s opinion, Guangdong’s reaction to the case of MERS in June this year, has fully embodied the policy too. First, WHO notified National Health and Family Planning Commission of China (NHFPCC) about Mr. Kim, the MERS patient. Then NHFPCC transferred the information to Guangdong. And Guangdong provincial government re-transferred the information to Huizhou. Huizhou found Kim and isolated him. All the processes took only four hours.
Moreover, Prof. Zhong pointed out the importance in protecting medical staffs from infecting diseases.
“No medical staffs infected MERS during this treatment, which means we did a better job on protecting them,” Prof. Zhong explained, “because the majority of patients of MERS in S.Korea are medical staffs, to put this another way, those doctors and nurses were infected by the patients actually.”