Shenzhen health chiefs say cases in factories under control Shenzhen health officials yesterday sought to allay fears of a major outbreak of typhoid in the city by saying the disease in 'isolated factories' was under control. A spokesman for the city's health bureau was quoted by Xinhua as saying no deaths had been recorded among the six cases confirmed so far. Another six people with symptoms of the disease were in a stable condition. The spokesman said Shenzhen authorities had treated the incident as a high priority and had swiftly informed relevant departments. Authorities had also immediately sanitised affected areas and implemented a series of preventive measures. In Longgang district, where the disease broke out, authorities have issued a health alert, warning people to wash their hands and avoid eating unclean food. The outbreak was first reported within Longgang's Liu Yue community, and factory workers in the area told the South China Morning Post that after reports of the disease emerged, dozens of eateries were shut down for failing to meet sanitation standards. The eateries reopened last night after being disinfected. A member of the medical staff at the Liu Yue Community Health Service Centre said the outbreak was caused by flies and unclean food. She refused to disclose whether there were any new cases but said the situation was under control. 'It is not very serious. Typhoid is a curable disease and can be prevented if we keep our environment clean,' she said. 'Every year, Shenzhen has a number of typhoid cases. There is nothing abnormal and there is no need for panic.' Liu Yue is an industrial zone with hundreds of factories, most of which are financed and operated by Hong Kong residents. However, there were no reports of Hong Kong residents contracting the disease. Canteens at the factories have been disinfected and antibiotics distributed to workers. Liang Xiaoke, an employee at a Longgang hardware and plastic factory, said management had asked workers to take antibiotics three times a day as a preventive measure. But most workers said they were not worried. One worker employed at a factory in the affected area said he was not afraid. 'I am not worried about the disease because typhoid can be treated with antibiotics, unlike Sars, which can't be treated,' he said, referring to severe acute respiratory syndrome. The Hong Kong Health Department has been notified of the outbreak and said it would monitor the situation closely. So far this year, 3,400 cases of typhoid have been reported on the mainland, according to earlier official reports.