Thursday, February 23, 2012

China Denies Internet Rumor Of SARS Outbreak


UPDATED :   China: Hebei Outbreak Identified As Adenovirus 55


# 6168



Between text messaging, emails, and the twitterverse, unsubstantiated rumors can quickly spread – and take on a life of their own - even across China.


Today, some Chinese newspapers, traffic on Twitter, and even Hong Kong’s government have taken note of a story suggesting that a SARS outbreak has erupted in China.


Normally I’d wait on a story like this, but since it is already lighting up twitter, and Hong Kong has posted an official response, I decided to mention it.


At this time I’ve seen no credible evidence to support this rumor. 


Hong Kong’s government has posted the following statement on their website.


CHP actively follows up with Ministry of Health on SARS rumour

A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (February 23) said that the CHP had successfully contacted the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ascertain a rumour concerning an incident of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Hebei province and was initially confirmed by MOH that there was no SARS outbreak. The Mainland authority concerned will announce relevant information later.


The spokesman said that there are well-established communication channels, including the SARS notification mechanism, between Hong Kong and the Mainland to enable timely exchange of important information about infectious disease incidents and outbreaks.


The CHP will continue to follow up actively with the MOH and monitor the latest development.

Ends/Thursday, February 23, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:39


Obviously, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that SARS, or some other type of pneumonia, has caused an outbreak of illness in Hebei Province. 


FluTrackers is following this story on this thread, and I’ll report back if this turns out to be anything more than a rumor.