CDC in China

Baseline survey with local Tibetan woman

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has collaborated with the Government of China and China-based partners for over 30 years, addressing public health priorities that affect the U.S., China, and the world. CDC has enjoyed successful collaborations on a wide range of topics including preventing birth defects, nutrition, chronic diseases, and communicable diseases like HIV, influenza, and TB, as well as more general efforts to strengthen global health security through training field epidemiologists and support for publication of public health information. Throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic, US CDC and China CDC have engaged in a series of ongoing technical briefings to share scientific updates.

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CDC Impact in China

Global Health Security

Countries that have strong and resilient public health systems can quickly prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats before they become epidemics. With a population of over 1.4 billion and 50% of the world’s livestock, China’s ecology poses a risk for emerging, re-emerging, and novel diseases that could threaten China, the U.S., and the rest of the world. The world’s growing network of air travel routes dramatically increases the risk for infections to spread rapidly, including infections that may lead to pandemics, such as COVID-19, that result in disruption of global trade, illness, or death.

CDC supports China’s development of efficient systems that can address disease outbreaks at their source. As China’s domestic public health capacity has grown, CDC and the China Center for Disease Control, known as China CDC, have collaborated in supporting global public health efforts. In addition, CDC collaborates with China CDC to advance the “one health” approach, recognizing that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment. This approach aims to reduce human disease burden due to brucellosis, rabies, and other zoonotic diseases.

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Experts from CDC and China CDC helped establish Africa CDC

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CDC and China CDC coordinated efforts to support the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak

COVID-19

Global health security investments and decades of global cooperation and support for outbreak response have built a strong foundation upon which to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Since Spring 2020, CDC and China CDC have convened regular virtual technical exchange meetings to discuss various COVID-19 topics, including serological testing, vaccine preparedness, the epidemiology of outbreak clusters in China, vaccine efficacy and safety, and vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. and China.

Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP)

FETP strengthens the capacity of the public health workforce to detect, respond, and control disease outbreaks at the source. Participants learn to gather critical data, analyze evidence, and turn it into fact-based recommendations. Since 2004, CDC has worked with the Chinese Field Epidemiology Training Program (CFETP), a two-year program designed to train China’s future disease detectives and public health leaders. Recently, CDC helped start specialized training tracks in non-communicable diseases and tuberculosis. With technical collaboration from CDC, Intermediate and Front Line FETP programs were established to support underserved provinces in remote areas where populations may be at increased risk for novel infections.

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Over 350 residents from 18 cohorts have completed training as of January 2021. Many graduates serve as program mentors and hold key positions across China’s public health agencies

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Residents have conducted more than 2,000 outbreak investigations as part of their training

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In 2019, CFETP was accredited by TEPHINET (Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network) Global Accrediting Body

Influenza

Influenza viruses change constantly and require continued vigilance. For over 20 years, CDC has supported the Chinese national influenza laboratory to strengthen monitoring for seasonal and novel influenza cases and viruses. CDC works in close partnership with the China CDC’s National Influenza Epidemiology, Virology, and Pandemic Preparedness Centers, China’s provincial and local CDCs, hospitals, and academic institutions. CDC maintains close ties with U.S. and China influenza experts to provide support for key activities. These include:

  • Conducting research to estimate disease burden and vaccine effectiveness among populations at greatest risk (including young children, older adults and pregnant women).
  • Promoting influenza vaccination policy development and coverage.
  • Supporting novel virus risk assessments.
  • Establishing influenza pandemic preparedness in China.
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With the establishment of the Chinese National Influenza Surveillance Network, China now has advanced capabilities to monitor and assess the risk of influenza viruses circulating in the country

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China has increased capacity to collect evidence about influenza disease burden and vaccine effectiveness, and to share data with the international community

Tuberculosis (TB)

The burden of TB has substantially declined in China, still the country continues to have the second highest numbers of TB and multidrug resistant (MDR) TB cases in the world. In 2020, around 842,000 people were diagnosed with TB in China. Since 2009, to address this public health problem of global significance, CDC supports China CDC to implement collaborative projects designed to provide scalable models to strengthen TB prevention and control nationally. The priority areas include the following:

  • Infection control – reducing the risk of TB transmission in health care facilities, especially among medical staff and other health care professionals.
  • Surveillance – increasing the accuracy and utility of the national TB surveillance system to ensure data can be used to inform policy.
  • Laboratory and quality assurance – improving the timeliness and accuracy of TB case diagnosis through laboratory management and quality assurance training including for people with MDR-TB.
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Research findings have led to clear policies and updated guidelines on TB infection control across health facilities in China

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To reduce under-reporting, the 2021 national TB control guidelines address completeness of reporting and data quality in the national TB surveillance system at all levels of health facilities

CDC Staff in China
  • 5 U.S. Assignees
  • 12 Locally Employed
China at a Glance
  • Population: > 1.4 billion
  • Per capita income: > $15,320
  • Life expectancy: F 79 / M 75 years
  • Infant mortality rate: 9/1,000 live births

Sources: World Bank 2020, Population Reference Bureau 2020

China Top 10 Causes of Death
  1. Stroke
  2. Ischemic heart disease
  3. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  4. Lung cancer
  5. Stomach cancer
  6. Alzheimer’s disease
  7. Hypertensive heart disease
  8. Colorectal cancer
  9. Esophageal cancer
  10. Road injuries

Source: GBD Compare 2019

Page last reviewed: January 5, 2022
Content source: Global Health