Captured mice 'free from diseases'

Updated: 2015-10-22 11:45

By SHAN JUAN(China Daily)

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Captured mice 'free from diseases'

A public health worker from the Chaoyang District branch of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention catches a mouse near Beijing Olympic Park on Tuesday. [ZHANG WEI/BEIJING YOUTH DAILY]

Public health departments in Beijing dismissed public fears of mouse-borne infections after at least 80 white mice were captured near Beijing Olympic Park on Tuesday.

He Xiong, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Wednesday that all the mice had been captured and would be disposed of properly.

"Lab tests on them showed they are free from any bacteria or viruses, so the public doesn't need to panic. It's safe to visit the park," He said.

Many people were concerned they might be lab animals carrying viruses that could jump to humans. The park, located in the north of the capital, is popular with locals. There is also a shopping mall nearby.

He stressed that all of the mice had been captured, but a road cleaner near the site told that he still saw something white moving.

"When I approached, I was certain they were mice," he said.

The mice were first spotted by a passer-by who immediately called the Chaoyang District branch of the Beijing CDC at noon on Tuesday.

Public health workers rushed to the site and caught more than 80 mice.

According to He, the mice were apparently raised by people and would have a difficult time surviving a natural habitat like the park.

Zhou Shuo, head of the park's administrative office, said they had used real time surveillance to ensure all the mice were caught.

Zhou said that the mice were actually set free near the west avenue of the park, rather than inside, but they were moving, so "we set up the surveillance to make sure all of them had been caught", he said.

He warned the public not to set animals free in the park, citing public health reasons and that it would upset or damage the ecological balance.

According to He, the mice were probably kept as pets. Similar mice are sold online for about 63 yuan ($10) each. The mice reproduce quickly, which can cause problems for unwary owners.

However, Chen Gang, a nearby resident, expressed concerns.

"The park and health authorities should conduct through investigations into the incident and inform the public of all their findings. The park belongs to the public and everybody should protect it," he said.

Zhang Xingjian contributed to this story.