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October 7, 2009

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H1N1 virus claims first victim on mainland

CHINA reported its first death from swine flu on the mainland yesterday, an 18-year-old woman in the Tibet Autonomous Region's capital Lhasa. The government said it was rushing tens of thousands of doses of flu vaccine to the western city.

The woman in Maizhokunggar County in Lhasa died of the H1N1 virus at about 3:20am on Sunday at the county hospital. She was admitted the previous day after experiencing coughing, a sore throat and muscular stiffness.

Her body temperature was as high as 40 degrees, a Tibetan regional health department official said yesterday.

The Ministry of Health sent 200,000 doses of vaccine to Lhasa by air yesterday to help contain the virus.

Meanwhile, Beijing reported its first swine flu case "with heavy symptoms" yesterday, a municipal health bureau official said.

A 72-year-old man is on a breathing machine in Beijing Ditan Hospital. He had suffered from chronic obstructive lung diseases for about 20 years and was confirmed to be infected with the H1N1 virus last Friday with a body temperature as high as 38.5 degrees, the official said.

The Chinese mainland had reported 21,453 confirmed cases by yesterday, about 78.7 percent of whom had recovered, according to the Ministry of Health.

The ministry held a tele-conference yesterday, asking local health authorities to strengthen monitoring and control of the virus outbreak, especially in remote and border areas.

Wang Chen, chief of the health ministry's H1N1 expert panel, said a series of prevention and medical treatment efforts for people infected with the virus had effectively delayed the spread of H1N1 virus on the Chinese mainland and gained time for the research and manufacture of vaccine.

"It is inevitable to have increasing cases with heavy symptoms and even deaths since the flu season has arrived," Wang said.


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