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Biosci Trends. 2013 Dec;7(6):290-3.

From SARS to H7N9: the mechanism of responding to emerging communicable diseases has made great progress in China.

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Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 3399 Bin Sheng Road, Binjiang District, 310051 Hangzhou, China.


The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 indicated that China's existing former mechanism for emergency management was very vulnerable. The Chinese Government has since established a new mechanism for responding to emerging communicable diseases. This paper examined the current status of and developments in China's response to emerging communicable diseases from the outbreak of SARS in 2003 to the outbreak of H7N9 virus infection in 2013. Results indicated that the current mechanism for emergency responses to emerging communicable diseases in China has made great achievements in terms of command and decision-making, organization and collaboration, monitoring and early warning systems, protection, and international communication and cooperation. This mechanism for responding to emerging communicable diseases allowed China to successfully deal with outbreaks of the H5N1 bird flu, H1N1 flu, and H7N9 bird flu. However, a better coordination system, a more complete Office of Responses to Public Health Emergencies, administrative responsibility and error correction, better personnel training, and government responsibility may help to improve the response to emerging communicable diseases. Such improvements are eagerly anticipated.

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