There is limited information on Huntington’s disease in China. However, in 1992, researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong published Huntington’s disease in China: A hypothesis of its origin. As with many other non-European populations, HD’s origins in China’s coastal provinces indicate that it likely spread as a result of interactions between European and Chinese traders.
Between 1984 and 1991, the prevalence of HD in Hong Kong was 3 to 7 patients per million. This population appeared to be predominately males who experienced an earlier disease onset. The first instances of HD were noted in 1959 and again in 1962. Historically, war and natural disasters disrupted living patterns and caused mixing of populations that increased the prevalence of HD outside of the original coastal provinces. However, compared to other regions, the spread of HD in China is rather limited and has remained predominately in these coastal regions.
This research is over 20 years old. More comprehensive statistics are needed to understand the true prevalence of the disease, particularly the prevalence of HD in women as this population is most likely underreported due to their status in society in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Chinese Huntington’s Disease Network
The Chinese Huntington’s Disease Network was launched on December 10, 2011 in Shanghai. This organization seeks to help the estimated 300 affected families in the region by increasing awareness about HD and improving quality of care.