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Yushu Quake Zone Clear of Public Health Problems

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China's Health Ministry Wednesday said no major communicable disease or public health emergencies had occurred in the northwestern Yushu prefecture since it was struck by 7.1-magnitude earthquake in April.

Health authorities implemented measures to prevent outbreaks of plague right after the disaster, as the quake-hit region is the natural source of the Himalayan marmot plague.

The plague can be caught from direct contact with marmots or from other people, and can be fatal if not treated properly. The quake jolted Yushu around the end of the marmot hibernation season, putting health authorities high on alert.

According to the ministry's report on its official website, by Monday disease prevention workers had plugged 141,018 Himalayan marmot, or Tibetan snow pig, nests over an area of 97,712 hectares.

According to the ministry's report, 17 cases of altitude-related illnesses were detected, but all had been treated.

The report said that, by 3:00 PM Monday, 9,145 quake-injured people had received treatment for injuries sustained in the quake, and 67 of them were still in hospital stay, including seven critically injured.

A total of 957 quake-relief health personnel were working in the quake zone, providing medical services and carrying out disease prevention and control.

Among the 13,673 people who had been vaccinated against infectious diseases in the wake of earthquake, no adverse effects were reported, according to the Ministry.

The 7.1-magnitude quake struck Yushu in northwest Qinghai Province on April 14, killing more than 2,200 people and flattening thousands of homes.

(Xinhua News Agency July 7, 2010)

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