China: Fighting Infectious Disease

China: Fighting Infectious Disease

Although many countries in the Pan Asian Pacific region have made enormous strides towards eliminating measles, China continues to struggle with control of the disease. Over 100,000 cases of measles occurred in China in 2008 alone, with the city of Tianjin experiencing some of the highest rates in the country.

Thanks to a five-year $3.62 million grant from the National Institutes of Health International Collaborations in Infectious Disease Research, Associate Professor Matthew Boulton and a team of SPH researchers will now partner with colleagues in China to characterize the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases in China and to improve control efforts. The grant places special focus on measles.

Boulton, also an associate professor of internal medicine at the UM Medical School, developed the grant proposal in partnership with the national China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing and the Provincial Centers for Disease Control in Tianjin. He says the grant provides funding for UM researchers to provide technical and scientific training to expand core epidemiologic and laboratory capacity in China's public health system in order to better address vaccine-preventable diseases and other infectious disease threats.

"We will then provide these technical trainings to all CDC staff across the entire country," Boulton says, noting that there are roughly 3,000 smaller CDCs of varying size in China. "The intent would be to extend the reach of our trainings in epidemiology and laboratory science throughout the whole of the country's public health system."

By Laura Bailey