Medical journals are beginning to grapple with the new strains of shingle virus that have hit China.
A growing number of Chinese physicians have begun to diagnose the virus as a pandemic and have started to prescribe a variety of treatments.
Dr. Zhao Yongjie, head of the Beijing Academic Medical Center, said the pandemic could affect about one-third of Chinese medical students in the second quarter.
“This is not only a huge risk to our students and staff but also to the country,” he said.
Zhao said the first few weeks after the pandemics first hit China, the country’s academic medical system was “overwhelmed.”
“Our hospitals were closed, and our hospitals were empty,” Zhao said.
“Many people were not able to take their medicine because there were not enough medicines for them to use.”
The problem is so acute in some parts of China that the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention is warning doctors to be vigilant.
The CDC reported a whopping 4,600 cases of shingle-related illness among Chinese medical schools in the first three months of this year, up from 1,600 last year.
The agency also reported a spike in infections among hospitals, prompting them to close, and said some schools are already experiencing overcrowding and staff shortages.
China is now the third-largest economy in the world after the United States and Japan.