A rare bone disease is posing a health risk to about 170,000 residents in southwest China's Tibet region, a medical survey has found.
At least 14,662 people have been diagnosed with Kaschin-Beck disease in Qamdo area, one of the most seriously affected regions, Xinhua reported.
According to the survey conducted by local health authorities, the patients usually develop thick and deformed joints, which eventually prevents them from working.
Doctors say the cause of the disease remains unknown. Some suspect that a certain fungus contained in barley, a staple food in the plateau, is to blame. Low iodine intake may be another cause.
The local government has been promoting relocation as a way to prevent the spread of the disease.