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H1N1 flu 'spreading but under control'
Updated: 2009-11-02 07:16

BEIJING: The A(H1N1) influenza was spreading rapidly across the country but it remained under control, an official with the Ministry of Health said here Sunday.

"Currently close to 80 percent of the country's total flu infections are A(H1N1) flu cases, though the state of the flu was still mild and there was no evidence of virus mutation," Liang said.

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As of Saturday, more than 46,000 confirmed A/H1N1 flu cases had been reported on the Chinese mainland, 75 percent of whom had recovered. Among the 93 cases of serious condition, 55 were still in hospital, the ministry said. Chinese mainland has reported six deaths from the flu since October 2.

Ministry experts warned that the flu has entered a period featured by high frequency and quick increase in the number of infected cases in the country, and it could last through March next year.

Liang urged health administrative departments across the country to "prepare for the worst and do the best".

He said, medical institutions and hospitals across the country are making preparedness in terms of personnel, materials and technical support to cope with possible emergencies.

"China has taken a series of measures to prevent and control the spread of the flu, which proved to be effective, buying some time for the country to prepare for more serious epidemic situation," Liang said. "China's preventive measures have also greatly slowed down the spread of the flu and significantly reduced the deaths from the flu in the country."

As the first country in the world to issue a production license for vaccines against the flu, China had inoculated more than 3.78 million people as of Saturday, with no reports of serious adverse reaction, according to the ministry.

The vaccination is being carried out across the country except in Chongqing Municipality and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi and Sichuan.

About 33.4 million doses of vaccines have been approved for use as of Saturday, 26 million of which have been dispatched to local medical institutions.

Vaccination was one of the effective ways to prevent flu spreading, but seasonal flu vaccines would not help protect people against the A(H1N1) flu, experts said.

Calculating on their existing production capacities, the eight domestic vaccine manufacturers are expected to produce a total of 100 million doses of A(H1N1) flu vaccines by the first quarter of next year, according to the ministry.

But for now, about 390 million people on the Chinese mainland needed inoculation. Targeted groups included the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and armed  police forces, police, medical staff, teachers, students, people working at key public service posts, and patients with chronic or cardiovascular diseases, experts said.

Children under the age of three and pregnant women are not included in the targeted groups due to lack of clinical data, said the ministry, adding that relevant departments are considering to carry out clinical tests.

Currently, youngsters are the high risk groups of the flu, Liang said.

As of October 31, more than 1,500 cases of mass infection have been reported on the Chinese mainland, 98 percent of which were related to schools, according to the ministry.

The Chinese mainland has now 411 laboratories and 556 hospitals engaging in monitoring flu cases.