China's Tibet consolidates achievement in eliminating endemic disease

A medical worker treats a herdswoman at a caterpillar fungus collecting site in Lainqu Township, Biru County of Nagqu, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, May 26, 2022.(Xinhua/Jigme Dorje)

LHASA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- There have been no new cases of Kaschin-Beck disease (KBD) in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region since 2018 and all 54 risk areas in the region have eliminated the endemic, said local health authorities on Wednesday.

Based on the survey result of a two-year special medical treatment campaign launched in 2021 for KBD patients, Tibet now has 3,866 KBD patients, all discovered before 2018, and has operated surgeries on 652 patients. Funds of about 35 million yuan (about 5 million U.S. dollars) have been pooled for medical treatment of the disease and over 3 million yuan of the funds have been used to support 1,630 KBD patients with a heavy financial burden in Tibet, said the regional health commission.

KBD is an endemic osteoarthropathy with a concurrent necrosis of the joints, common among children and adolescents. Its clinical manifestations are painful, thickened and deformed limbs and joints and muscle atrophy. In severe cases, patients tend to show short fingers, short limbs, and even abnormal short stature and deformity, resulting in loss of labor force.