According to the World Health Organization, to date, there have been about 130 confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza in the provinces of Fujian, Jiangxi, Shandong, Jiangsu, Henan, Hunan, and Zhejiang–and two municipalities–Beijing and Shanghai.
CET continues to watch the situation carefully via the monitoring of local news in China, the US Embassy in Beijing, reports from the WHO and CDC, and media reports from US and international news agencies. CET overseas staff in China are regularly updating students with the latest information. Though there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission at this time, Chinese officials and international health organizations are carefully monitoring the development of this virus, and providing regular updates.
At the current moment, the CDC and WHO recommend taking common sense precautions, like not touching birds or other animals and washing hands often. Poultry and poultry products should be fully cooked before eating. The CDC and WHO do not recommend that people delay, restrict, or cancel trips to China
CET recommends checking the following websites frequently:
Latest News from WHO:
As always, feel free to call CET if you have concerns about the health and wellbeing of our students in China.
-Adam Jones, Senior Manager, Asia Programs
-Ingrid Lombardo, China Programs Manager
We’re at the half way mark of our semester here in Beijing. With my legs burning and diaphragm expanding with each breath I take, I realize that I have finished half of the race…Now, there are a lot of emotions that are washing over me- and I’m sure my classmates as well- right now. I will continue using the metaphor of a race for you all to better imagine and, in fact, feel the same emotions I am.
So, I hear my coach say, “that’s it, you’re half way there!” And with those words, I take another breath and continue forward a little bit faster than before. I make improvements to my form as there is a break at the top of the next hill and the ground flattens out…
I stop the metaphor here because this is where we are at in our semester. A little over a week ago we were all feeling the weight of midterms bearing down on us and it seemed as if our Friday Chinese midterm would never arrive.
The weekend before, we went to the Great Wall, finally scratching that “China Must-do” off of our list. After scaling what must have been twenty flights of stairs we made it to the Great Wall to climb a few dozen more. There was something so surreal about being there atop such a symbol of Chinese culture and the society’s longevity. It was an invigorating encounter of old and new- the rustic stone wall and people from all over the world taking pictures of one of the world’s greatest wonders with iPhones and HD cameras.
So, fast forward to the week proceeding that experience and you find ten students whose enchantment with China is put to the side as frustrations with the language take its place. During mid-term week there were many times that I thought back on the past two months and wondered where they went. That week was surely a week of self-assessment and renewed perspective.
So, I survived the mid-term, in fact my “coach” said that I was doing really well, my fastest time yet! I’ve gone up one of the toughest hills in my race and I slow my pace a bit on the straight away, letting myself catch my breath: this was my past week on Spring break.
From after the test to last Thursday, four of my classmates and I go out and see as much of China as we possibly can, which ends up being three of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to: Yixing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai (in that order).
Yixing welcomed us on Saturday morning with clear sunny skies that provided a glorious background for our afternoon hike (which, must translate to “climbing stairs outdoors” in Chinese). We ate Xiaolonbao; we had massages; we went to see waterfalls and climbed a mountain in a bamboo garden; and, we rode bikes around a beautiful, star-covered lake…We did all of that in two days, packed up our stuff and left for Hangzhou Monday morning.
In Hangzhou, the first day was spent recuperating (all runners need to rest every now and then), but the second day we hit the streets using our newest favorite means of transportation: bikes. During our ride we rode alongside the banks of the famous West Lake and were awed by evidence of the cities wealth: two Ferrari dealerships (I couldn’t even tell you where the one in Atlanta is), a Rolls Royce dealership, a shopping center with brand names from Gucci to Lui Vatton- no Forever 21s in site in the center, and countless other places and things I had only heard about on TV.
That night we waited an hour and a half to eat at a restaurant called “Grandma’s Kitchen” (thanks to our Lonely Planet guidebook page 242). Boy o’ boy, was it worth the wait! (Yes, it was that good that it made my southern slang come out.) We had peanut ice cream, tofu and rice (of course!), succulent shrimp, pumpkin something or other, and a few more dishes…all were delicious and like nothing any of us had tasted before (Food in the Jiangsu province is sweeter than that of Beijing).
We tore ourselves away from the table full of empty dishes and prepared for our departure to Shanghai the next day.
Shanghai was the final city of my spring break before coming back to Beijing and it was well worth the wait. We got to Shanghai midafternoon and took the subway and then a taxi to our hotel (having learned just how faraway places could be- therefore expensive to get to- from our time in Hangzhou.) After finding our hotel and dropping of our stuff we went out to Shanghai’s famous Bund to explore and take pictures.
There were so many people from all over the world there! It was like being in a New York (expect a Chinese version). We were all so excited to see as many places as possible in this great city. We whipped out our maps, inspired by the other tourists around us using them, and found Shanghai’s Old Street, which was actually many street full of any type of store you could need and more! We tried their Xiaochi, deciding the Beijing’s were better (one point for Beijing!), and then found the “Grandma’s Kitchen” of Shanghai to grab dinner.
The next day we squeezed in People’s Park, where we saw all types of people doing their morning exercises and meetings, and the French Quarter, where we had a delicious lunch of Indian food (When in Rome…). Exhausted from a week full of traveling, I and one other classmate hoped upon our final high speed train to Beijing.
Being back in Beijing has been too fantastic. Leaving the city ignited my desire to explore the city more…there are so many places left to see and the time is winding down to see them.
Thus, my “coach” calls out to me again, “You got it! Keep going! Just pull your elbows in…” I’m half way there. It’s time for me to make some changes to my “form” and the way I’ve been running the race. With my teammates- classmates- beside me, I buckle down to have the most exciting semester of my life. I can look at this situation two ways: I’m halfway done or I have half to go. Personally, I like the last one, because that means that we have just as long as we’ve already been here to do even more that we’ve already done.
Beijing…we’re just beginning to see what the other has to offer!
There are many news reports circulating about the H7N9 (“bird” or “avian flu”) virus in China. CET wants you to have the most reliable information possible. We are regularly checking the following websites, which we believe to be credible. We will continue to monitor these sites regularly for the latest information and we encourage you to do the same.
The World Health Organization, Global Alert and Response: http://www.who.int/csr/don/en/index.html
The Centers for Disease Control, Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h7n9-virus.htm
The Centers for Disease Control, Travelers’ Health: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/avian-flu-h7n9-china.htm
Embassy of the United States in Beijing: http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/04052013u.html
US Department of State, Travel Warnings and Alerts: http://travel.state.gov/
Note: As of this posting (4/10/13), the WHO reports “no evidence of ongoing human-to-human transmission. WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event, nor does it recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied.”
You may have heard news stories about the Avian Flu Outbreak in China. CET would like you to know that we are monitoring the situation carefully and keeping our students apprised of the facts. Here is what we are telling our students in China at this time:
- The risk of human infection from avian influenza is generally low, but it is greater for individuals with frequent, close contact with live poultry and/or wild birds.
- Stay away from live birds and undercooked poultry.
- Avoid areas where birds congregate.
- Wash hands regularly with soap and water; use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
If you would like further information about the outbreak, please see the World Health Organization’s Frequently Asked Questions on human infection with influenza A(H7N9) virus in China http://www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/faq_H7N9/en/index.html. As always, please feel free to call us if you have concerns about the health and well-being of our students in China.
-Ingrid Lombardo, CET China Programs Manager
*4/8/13 UPDATE regarding influenza A(H7N9) virus in China
On 4/7/13, the World Health Organization issued an update that included the following statement:
“At this time there is no evidence of ongoing human-to-human transmission. WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event, nor does it recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied.”
This is the latest update from the WHO on bird flu in China: http://www.who.int/csr/don/2013_04_09/en/index.html.
The conclusion remains the same: “At this time there is no evidence of ongoing human-to-human transmission.
WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event, nor does it recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied.”