Bird Flu, Encephalitis and Rabies are all the Rage

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After the nasty business of SARS, we eventually got used to “bird flu”. Now encephalitis B and rabies are getting some unpleasant headlines too.

AP and the Washington Post reports that 19 people have recently died of encephalitis in north China’s Yuncheng city (Shanxi) – with 5 more infections reported, bringing the total number of infections to 65.

    “The disease causes an inflammation of membranes around the brain. Symptoms include high fever, seizures and headaches.”

It is a nasty business, and it seems it is not entirely restricted to Shanxi. A friend of mine based in Shanghai had a serious (near fatal) case just a few weeks ago. Luckily swift treatment saved the day, but all would be wise to give mosquitoes a wide birth for a while.

And not just the mosquitoes. Dogs too. There has been a major cull of dogs following several rabies infections resulting in the deaths of 16 people around Jining (Shandong), according to the BBC. Around 500,000 dogs could be targeted.

The birds are still a risk too. China Daily reports that a farmer in Xinjiang died from the H5N1 virus on July 12. So far 21 cases have resulted in 14 deaths.

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