Pioneering medical treatments in Xinjiang

Society & Culture

Top society and culture news for April 18, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "No porn on WeChat for government officials."

The spectacular highlands of Tibet, Qinghai, and Xinjiang are home to nomadic herders, their yaks and goats, and also a kind of tapeworm that spreads from wild rodents to livestock, dogs, and humans. The worms cause cysts in internal organs, resulting in a long, painful disease called echinococcosis, which usually leads to a premature death. In a rare feel-good story from Xinjiang, the Financial Times reports (paywall) on pioneering treatments that are being tested and used to successfully treat echinococcosis at a hospital affiliated with Xinjiang Medical University in Urumqi. In the early 2000s, the government began funding treatment with “the drug albendazole, which was developed in the 1970s and can slow the growth of cysts.” The FT says that “in the past decade, China has rolled out the largest prevention programme ever created for the disease, including drug treatment for millions of dogs and vaccination for livestock.” The program includes regular analysis of canine feces in Urumqi, and a surgical treatment for human patients that involves “removing the liver whole and stripping it of cysts before replacing it.”