China says on guard after Vietnam cholera outbreak
BEIJING (Reuters) - China is stepping up health checks and education efforts to prevent the spread of cholera following an outbreak in Vietnam, with which it shares a border, the Chinese Health Ministry said on Friday.
Vietnam has been battling an outbreak of cholera since late last year, the first such spate of cases in three years.
"In recent years, though there has been no obvious change in our cholera situation, the potential factors for spreading cholera are still there," it said in a statement on its website (www.moh.gov.cn).
"Recently, there has been a large-scale cholera epidemic in Vietnam with more than 100 reported cases, and this has had a certain effect on health prevention work in border provinces."
China reported no cholera deaths in 2007, though the number of new infections edged up a little under 3 percent.
Cholera is transmitted by contaminated water or food.
At its most acute, it causes diarrhea that can lead to death by severe dehydration and kidney failure.
China's Health Ministry said its efforts would focus on border areas, cities which will host events for this summer's Beijing Olympics, schools, construction sites and restaurants.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)