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No Epidemic Outbreaks After Fatal landslide in N China

No epidemic outbreaks have been reported since a landslide killed at least 254 people in the north Shanxi Province last week, said the head of the provincial health administration.

According to Gao Guoshun, no illnesses or food poisoning cases had been reported, as of Monday, in or around the site of the mining dump collapse.

Almost 500 medical workers and health experts have been working on epidemic prevention measures in four townships, said Feng Lizhong, a disease-control official with the administration.

The workers are helping people treat garbage, sanitize their houses and ensure water and food safety. Feng added, children and the elderly received vaccinations against infectious disease.

Gao said such measures will continue for three months.

The mud-rock flow occurred in Shanxi's Xiangfen County when a retaining wall of an unlicensed Tashan Mine crumbled on September 8. Huge amounts of iron ore waste burst out, burying downstream residents along with a busy outdoor market.

As of Saturday, rescuers found 254 bodies. The State Administration of Work Safety said on Tuesday, 159 bodies had been identified.

Thirty-four people remain in the hospital. Four critical patients had been upgraded to stable condition.

An initial investigation found the mine collapse was due to negligence. The waste ore dump was built in violation of regulations and it had few safety inspections. Further investigation was underway by a State Council investigation team.

In the meantime, the State Council, China's Cabinet, has ordered a nationwide safety check at similar production sites around the country to root out other potential problems.

(Xinhua News Agency September 16, 2008)

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