Natural and Man-made Calamities in China: Reappearance of Schistosomiasis and Flooding in Jiangxi Province from Torrential Rain

Zhou Tong

PureInsight | December 5, 2005


Reappearance of Schistosomiasis in China

According to media reports in China, schistosomiasis, which was once eradicated in Mainland China, has reappeared in certain regions of the country.
[Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that leads to chronic ill health. People are infected by contact with water used in normal daily activities such as personal or domestic hygiene and swimming, or by professional activities such as fishing, rice cultivation, irrigation.
Due to lack of information or insufficient attention to hygiene, infected individuals may contaminate their water supply with feces or urine. The eggs of the schistosomes in the excreta of an infected person open on contact with water and release a parasite, the miracidium. To survive, this motile form must find a fresh water snail.
Once it has found its snail host, the miracidium divides, producing thousands of new parasites (cercariae). The cercariae are then excreted by the snail into the surrounding water. They can penetrate an individual's skin within a few seconds, continuing their biological cycle once they have made their way to the victim's blood vessels. Within 30 to 45 days, the parasite is transformed into a long worm which is either male or female. The female lays from 200 to 2000 eggs per day over an average of 5 years, according to the species.
In the case of intestinal schistosomiasis, the worms reside in the blood vessels lining the intestine. In urinary schistosomiasis, they live in the blood vessels of the bladder. Only about a half of the eggs are excreted in the feces (intestinal schistosomiasis), or in the urine (urinary schistosomiasis). The rest stay in the body, damaging other vital organs. It is the eggs and not the worm itself which cause damage to the intestines, the bladder and other organs.]
Some 6.5 million people in China are at risk for developing the disease and more than 800 thousand people are inflicted with it.

The reports stated that in Gongan County, Hubei Province, located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the epidemic situation is the worst in the country. During the last five years, the situation in the county has gotten worse and worse. There are 26,459 residents in the county who are inflicted with the disease. The rate of increase in the county is 126% per year. At the present time, the entire county is still threatened by the epidemic. Seven hundred forty thousand people out of the 1.02 million residents in the county are at the risk to develop the disease. In the recent years, 9 out of 23 counties, cities and regions in Hubei Province that had previously eradiated the disease have seen the return of the epidemic. The recurrence rate has reached 39.13%.

Flooding From Torrential Rains in Jiangxi Province

According a media reported on November 15, 2005, a region in Jiangxi Province continued to suffer torrential rains. Some regions suffered from intense torrential rains that led to flash floods.

The report stated that the 20 counties and cities in the province endured intense torrential rains and 32 counties and cities endured torrential rains. The rainfall in Tonggu County reached 27.5 cm.

In the entire province, the torrential rains have caused more than 1900 houses to collapse, 498,000 people have been affected by the flood, and 1582 large farm animals have died. The torrential rains cut off thirteen highways, destroyed 37 kilometers of highways, and damaged 37 kilometers of communication lines.

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Information on schistosomiasis from:

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