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City reports 5 new flu cases

SHANGHAI yesterday reported what may be its first victim of local swine flu transmission along with four other new cases, while a city epidemiologist warned about the high risk of an outbreak in areas with substantial population densities.

The city's total H1N1 virus victims now stands at 45, including 20 who have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. The others were in stable condition last night.

The case with a local link involves a 26-year-old Chinese man who works in Shanghai. The man was put under home observation on Tuesday because he had been in close contact with a swine flu victim, the Shanghai Health Bureau said. It did not classify the man's case as imported, but it also would not declare that it was a second-generation case.

That swine flu patient he was exposed to was a 26-year-old Henan Province woman who had been studying in Australia and came to Shanghai on a flight from Mellbourne on June 12.

Local health officials did not say how the man had come into contact with the Henan woman.

Yesterday's four imported cases involved three Chinese and one Canadian. Two of the Chinese were studying in Australian and flew to Shanghai on Wednesday on different planes. The other Chinese patient was a 21-year-old airline hostess.

The Canadian was an 18-year-old woman studying in Canada who arrived in Shanghai from Toronto on Wednesday afternoon.

Also yesterday, Cao Guangwen, director of the epidemic research institute under the Shanghai-based Second Military Medical University, said there is a "very high" risk of a swine flu outbreak in densely populated Chinese communities but warned against panic as the mortality rate is "quite low" so far.

The World Health Organization said yesterday there were 44,287 confirmed swine flu cases worldwide, including 180 deaths.


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