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China to Build Toilets for Fishermen to Tackle Disease

China will build sanitary toilets to reduce the incidence among the fishing population of schistosomiasis, a water-borne parasitic worm disease.

The toilets will mainly be built in five provinces: Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei and Hunan.

These are places with a high incidence of the disease, according to a circular jointly released by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health.

The central government will provide up to 6,000 yuan (US$800) per toilet, and any additional cost must be covered by local governments, said the circular.

The siting and construction will be carried out according to the local incidence of the disease, reasonable distribution and convenience of users.

Schistosomiasis, a wasting disease that causes blood loss and tissue damage, afflicted many Chinese before the 1960s owing to widespread poor waste treatment in rural latrines, fishing boats and water.

Located south of the Yangtze River and home to China's largest freshwater lake -- Poyang Lake -- Jiangxi is one of the worst-affected areas for schistosomiasis, commonly known as snail fever. About 100,000 people live with the disease in Jiangxi.

(Xinhua News Agency November 26, 2007)

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