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New wave of swine flu could affect Expo, experts say

CITY experts have warned that a second and third wave of swine flu could spread this autumn and next spring.

A potential outbreak of the H1N1 virus next spring could coincide with the opening of World Expo 2010, medical experts said yesterday at a conference hosted by the city's political advisory body, according to today's Oriental Morning Post.

The deadly 1918 Spanish flu pandemic didn't cause much trouble when it broke out in May, but the situation deteriorated in the autumn when a second wave of the virus spread, followed by a third wave in the spring of 1919, Xiong Sidong, a political advisor, was cited as saying.

If there was a third wave of H1N1, it would affect the World Expo in May 2010 as travelers from around the world are expected to visit Shanghai, Xiong added.

Xiong mentioned other outbreaks such as the canine influenza in the United States in 2004 and said most of Shanghai's pet dogs had been given a rabies vaccine but not a flu vaccine. Both dogs and pigs could spread the H1N1 virus among humans, Xiong said, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Shanghai has taken five measures to guarantee the safety of pork, municipal government spokesman Chen Qiwei was quoted as saying.

The city's hog production and supplies were stable and the H1N1 virus hadn't been detected in pigs in China, Chen said. A Mexican who traveled to Hong Kong via Shanghai is the only confirmed human case of H1N1 in China.

The local agricultural authority has beefed up the inspection, quarantine and disinfection of hogs as well as the vehicles transporting the animals.

All pig farms were closed operations, according to Chen. Any farm workers with flu symptoms such as a fever or cough should be reported and diagnosed immediately, Chen said, according to the report.


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