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December 3, 2009

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H1N1 fatality numbers climb

THE number of swine flu deaths on Chinese mainland has more than tripled in two weeks with the onset of winter, according to the Ministry of Health.

By Sunday, the mainland had recorded 178 deaths from the H1N1 virus - a threefold-plus jump from the 53 deaths announced on November 15, the ministry said.

It also said three of the four recent deaths reported after people received swine flu vaccinations had been determined to have no link to the inoculations themselves.

The three deaths were "coincidental," Liang Wannian, director of the ministry's emergency response office, said on Tuesday night. Results for the fourth death are pending.

By Monday, more than 27 million people on the mainland had received swine-flu vaccinations and 2,867 cases of adverse reactions were reported, Liang said.

Most of those reactions were minor and included fever or swelling, he added.

Safety reassurance

"Clinical tests and practices in China and other countries have shown the H1N1 flu vaccines are safe," Liang said.

More than 90,000 people in China had been infected with swine flu and nearly 80 percent had recovered, the health ministry said.

The flu situation in China was still "severe" as the number of cases and fatalities grew with the onset of winter, Liang said.

Swine flu made up about 91 percent of all flu cases last week, compared with 89.8 percent in the previous week, the ministry said.

Schools are still the main venue for prevention, with nationwide vaccinations continuing.

The health ministry advised the public to keep warm in the cold weather, wash hands frequently and keep rooms ventilated.


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