A third of Chinese hospitals fail to report their deaths, while 20% don't make records of any fatalities at all, a health ministry study found. The study, carried out last year at 130 medical institutions in 29 provinces and municipalities, also found that hospitals regularly misdiagnosed cases and were slack in reporting concerns to the authorities. The ministry said this poor performance hampers the country's efforts to prevent and control infectious diseases. China was criticized for its reluctance to release information during the SARS outbreak and further questions were raised last week about disease control after Beijing confirmed that the country's first case of bird flu was in 2003, two years earlier than previously thought.
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