“BYU Scientists Honored for Work in China,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 80
Two Brigham Young University scientists have been honored by a regional Chinese government for their work in helping residents of rural northwestern China avoid a life-threatening parasitic disease.
Ferron L. Anderson, a professor of zoology, and H. Dennis Tolley, a professor of statistics, received certificates of appreciation for their work in helping control and prevent hydatid disease, the number-one infectious parasitic disease in the northwestern province of the Xinjiang/Uygur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
The two BYU professors were invited to become members of the Foreign Advisory Panel of the new National Hydatid Disease Center of China. Honored with them for his part in the work was Peter M. Schantz, a consultant from the National Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. The three men were also invited to be honorary research fellows of the Xinjiang Academy of Animal Sciences.
A Chinese television station broadcast the awards ceremony. The station plans to produce a documentary about BYU’s work in the area.
Hydatid disease, caused by a specific tapeworm, is spread from animals to humans and can be treated only by surgery.
“Surgeons in Xinjiang anticipate that one thousand surgeries will be necessary each year for at least the next several years” to treat victims of the disease, Brother Anderson said. The Xinjiang region, west of Mongolia and next to the border of the Soviet Union, has nearly thirteen million people. More than seven million of them are potential hydatid-disease sufferers. Half of the cases occur in people under age sixteen.
For the past two years, the American scientists have been working with their Chinese colleagues to reduce the number of disease-related surgeries.
Elder Spencer J. Condie, as a BYU professor of sociology, also contributed to the project before his call as a General Authority. So, too, did J. Lloyd Eldredge, a professor of elementary education at BYU.
Supported by the Thrasher Research Fund, the program uses various educational aids, local hydatid disease control officers, and medical treatment for infected dogs in helping to combat the spread of the disease.