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Cablegate: Guangdong's Season for Sickness: Possibilities For

VZCZCXRO1639
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHNH RUEHPB
RUEHPOD RUEHVC
DE RUEHGZ #1279/01 3480633
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140633Z DEC 07
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6732
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC//USDP/ISA/AP//
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC//J2/J3/J5//
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J00/J2/J3/J5//
RUEORDA/DIRAFMIC FT DETRICK MD//MA-1A//

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUANGZHOU 001279

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM, AIAG, OES/IHA, MED
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE AND GH
CDC FOR OGHA AND DIV-FLU
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP
HHS PASS TO FIC/NIH
USDA PASS TO APHIS, FAS (OSTA AND OCRA), FSIS
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC, USAID
BEIJING FOR HHS HEALTH ATTACHE AND RMO
PHNOM PENH FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR
VIENTIANE FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO AMED CASC EAGR KFLU SOCI CH
SUBJECT: Guangdong's Season for Sickness: Possibilities for
Infectious Disease Outbreaks

REF: A. Guangzhou 0543; B. Guangzhou 1048; C. Guangzhou 1070; D.
Guangzhou 1075

1. (U) Summary: Findings from the December 8 Guangdong Department of
Health conference on infectious disease outbreaks during the winter
and spring seasons suggest that the risk of SARS is low, but there
is the possibility for "sporadic" human avian influenza infection
and/or reemergence of an animal plague epidemic. Conference experts
promoted a four-fold prevention plan, involving forbidding the
breeding, sales, and eating of wild animals; strengthening poultry
vaccination; sharing information sharing and establishing joint
prevention efforts between Guangdong's Agriculture and Health
Departments; and increasing supervision of, and training in, area
hospitals. End summary.

--------------------------------------------- ----
Guangdong: A Possible Breeding Ground for Disease
--------------------------------------------- ----

2. (SBU) In Guangdong Province, a sub-tropical area along the Pearl
River Delta, winter and spring represent especially vulnerable
periods for the spread of respiratory infectious diseases. As a
result, the Guangdong Department of Health held a conference to
address the likelihood of the occurrence of infectious epidemics in
the province, primarily SARS, human AI, and animal plagues.

3. (U) Experts concluded that Guangdong's risk of a SARS outbreak is
lower than last year. There is the possibility of a reemergence of
an animal plague epidemic, such as the porcine reproductive and
respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), or porcine blue ear disease,
which afflicted Guangdong pig farms earlier this year. Experts also
confirm "sporadic" human AI infection, such as that witnessed this
month in Jiangsu province, is possible but suggested that the risk
of human-to-human transmission is limited.

-----------------------------
Prevention is the Best Policy
-----------------------------

4. (U) Conference experts promoted a four-fold prevention plan. The
first step involves strictly forbidding the breeding, sales, and
eating of wild animals, including the civet cat, which was
attributed to the SARS outbreak of 2002. The second step is to
strengthen poultry vaccination, to which Guangdong's government has
paid increasing attention in light of September's avian influenza
outbreak. Third, experts suggested enhancing information sharing and
joint prevention efforts between Guangdong's Agriculture and Health
Departments. Lastly, the provincial government was encouraged to
establish increased supervision of, and training in, area hospitals,
especially with regard to handling reported pneumonia cases with
unknown causes, an initial indicator of possible AI infection.

5. (U) Guangdong's Health Department currently engages in a number
of respiratory infectious disease preventative measures. On a
monthly basis, the Department collects approximately 50 samples from
1-2 poultry wholesale markets for AI and SARS testing. From January
to April 2007, 205 samples were collected; all testing was negative
for SARS. One sample tested positive for H5N1; samples from 10
nearby stalls were taken and tested negative. No poultry traders
showed signs of health problems.

6. (U) In addition to collecting samples, the Department of Health
plans to implement many of the preventative measures suggested by
experts including the adoption of an "early detection, early
reporting, early isolation and early treatment" policy. The
Department also plans to enforce strict inspections of restaurants
and markets that sell and serve civet cats and other wild animals,
including Guangzhou's Qing Ping market, a location historically
infamous for selling these at-risk delicacies. The provincial
government will also extend information sharing beyond the Health

GUANGZHOU 00001279 002 OF 002


and Agriculture Departments to the Forestry and Inspection and
Quarantine Departments. Increasing public awareness of prevention
and treatment options, as well as rapid response to outbreaks also
remain focal points of the provincial government's ongoing strategy.


GOLDBERG

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