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November 16, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

City prepares for seriously ill swine-flu patients

EXPERTS from the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, a designated hospital for swine-flu treatment, expect an increase in patients seriously sickened by the virus.

Their fears come as the number of swine-flu cases balloons in both China and many parts of the world.

The hospital has made preparations for extra medication, respiratory machines, staff training and wards to accommodate more than 500 seriously sick patients.

The possibility of serious effects from swine flu is usually one to three people in every 1,000 cases.

Early detection and treatment for serious cases were the major challenges for the medical field, Dr Lu Hongzhou, vice president of the center, told a Sino-Australian seminar on infectious diseases in Shanghai yesterday.

Experts are encouraging high-risk people to undergo shots for both swine and seasonal flu, adding that pregnant women should be included.

Officials from the Shanghai Health Bureau said yesterday that since giving swine-flu vaccinations to at-risk people from mid-October, there had been no serious adverse reactions reported in the city.

Lu, a member of both the Shanghai and national expert panels for swine-flu prevention and control, said the government should adjust its policy to include pregnant women in the free-shots program, as Western countries do.

"The Chinese mainland hasn't given pregnant women the free shots because of a lack of clinical tests to show their effects and safety on such people," Lu said.

"Since both the source of the virus strain and the production technology and procedure at home and abroad are the same, domestic authorities can follow Western countries to vaccinate pregnant women."

As clinical tests in China and overseas on the vaccine have not included children aged under three, experts suggest parents not take toddlers to crowded places.

A person starts to produce antibodies three weeks after catching swine flu or two weeks after receiving vaccinations. Clinically using vaccinated people's serum may help treat seriously ill patients.

"We have collected serum from vaccinated staff and carried out research," Lu said. "This serum may be used to treat seriously sick patients in the future."

As of last Thursday, the city had detected 1,538 cases of swine flu since the first was found in May.

Only two patients have become seriously ill in Shanghai with swine flu and both have recovered.


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