One of the infected children receiving treatment at a hospital in Hefei, Anhui. Photo from CRI.
A hepatitis epidemic believed to be caused by intravenous injections has broken out along the Henan-Anhui border. According to Xinhua:
A total of 104 people in Maqiao township of Yongcheng city in Henan have tested positive for Hepatitis C virus in a preliminary screening. Of all, six have been confirmed as Hepatitis C patients in further tests, the Yongcheng city health bureau said in a statement Tuesday.
In Guoyang county in Anhui, 56 people, mostly children, have tested positive for the Hepatitis C virus in a preliminary screening. Further nucleic acid tests on 16 confirmed 13 were infected.
An initial investigation by local health authorities showed all 56 once received intravenous injections at a clinic in Maqiao township of Yongcheng city and the reuse of needles at the village clinic might have caused the outbreak.
Wu Wenyi, a man in his 60s who runs the village clinic in Maqiao township, is not a licensed doctor, the Yongcheng city health bureau said. A further investigation is underway to to see if he is behind the outbreak, it added.
A villager surnamed Yang in Guoyang said doctor Wu can cure fever and diarrhea for children with one injection that costs 10 to 20 yuan (1.6 to 3.1 U.S. dollars), and people living within a radius of 20 km came to see him for health issues.
Two decades ago, a HIV/AIDS epidemic broke out in Henan because of blood plasma-buying schemes encouraged by local authorities that saw villagers sell their blood in highly unhygienic conditions.