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Changle City girl, 2, becomes a new suspected swine flu case

A TWO-YEAR-OLD girl from Changle City in Fujian Province has been identified as a suspected swine flu case, China's Health Ministry said yesterday.

The child traveled with her family on Tuesday morning from New York International Airport to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific flight CX841 and the following day flew home on flight KA662 to Changle International Airport.

On Thursday morning, the girl showed acute respiratory infection symptoms, with a body temperature of 39 degrees Celsius. She was taken to hospital in Changle, where preliminary tests turned positive for A-H1N1 flu virus.

The patient was yesterday in a stable condition.

Flight KA662 had 160 passengers and eight crew members and the Fujian health department has quarantined 29 of the 38 close contacts of the patient on the plane. Seven others had left Fujian while local health authorities were trying to locate the remaining two in the province.

Eight close contacts of the child were also quarantined.

China had seven confirmed swine flu cases on the mainland as of Friday, with four in Beijing, one in Sichuan, one in Shandong and one in Guangdong.

In Hong Kong, health authorities yesterday confirmed that a woman and a man had tested positive for swine flu, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the city to six.

Both patients arrived in Hong Kong late Friday from the United States and were sent to hospital from the airport after thermal scanning detected their fever, said Thomas Tsang, controller of Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection.

According to Tsang, the female patient, a 20-year-old student studying in New York, arrived in Hong Kong aboard flight CX831. She was sitting in Row 31, wearing a facial mask throughout her journey.

The other patient was a 53-year-old man from Chinese mainland. He put on a mask after developing a sore throat while still on flight UA839 from San Francisco.

Tsang said with the summer vacation getting closer, more students are expected to return to Hong Kong and more imported cases of infection may emerge.

He appealed to overseas students not to return if they show flu-like symptoms.

Meanwhile, Taiwan has ordered an elementary school in a Taipei suburb closed after one of its students was confirmed to have swine flu, as the island's total number of cases rose to six.

Center for Disease Control spokesman Shih Wen-yi said on Friday that the five-year-old female student traveled to the Philippines with her mother for an international yoga event last week and returned to Taiwan on Wednesday. Shih said both mother and daughter had swine flu.

He said the girl's school in Chungho will be closed for a week, the first time the government has shut a school over fears of the disease's spread.

A 24-year-old student was also confirmed on Friday as having swine flu after she returned from San Francisco.


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