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China develops quick checks to ID deadly virus

CHINA has developed an effective method for the instant diagnosis of human cases of swine flu, Health Minister Chen Zhu told a news conference yesterday afternoon.

In other measures meant to keep the disease from crossing the country's borders, China has banned the import of live pigs and pork products from two more US states.

And entry-exit personnel are now boarding passenger flights arriving in China from the United States to conduct temperature checks, a procedure previously announced only for Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak.

The new detection method will be installed at the offices of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention at all levels, Chen said.

Chen also said China is attempting to obtain the flu virus strain from countries where it has been found so it can join in the effort to develop an effective vaccine.

"Once we get the virus strain, it's possible to produce a vaccine in three months," Li Dexin, a CDC senior official, told Xinhua news agency.

On the import front, any pigs or pork products shipped to China from the US states of New York and Ohio, where swine flu has been reported, will be rejected or destroyed, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said. Products shipped earlier than Wednesday, when the ban went into effect, will be admitted only after testing.

China earlier banned pork imports from California, Texas and Kansas after infections were reported there. From now on, all US states where human cases of swine flu have been found will be added to the blacklist.

Chen also said China is "confident" and "capable" of handling a swine flu outbreak, through no cases have been confirmed so far.

"We have to take into consideration the worst possibilities while making the best preparations," he said, adding that China and the rest of the world have made great progress in combating public health emergencies since the SARS outbreak in 2003.


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