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Health officials warn of China flu peak in next two months

CHINA will face increasing pressure to control the spread of A/H1N1 flu in the next two months, said the Ministry of Health in Beijing today.

"As the New Year and Spring Festival are drawing near, the country is expecting a huge number of travelers nationwide, which will further increase pressure to control the flu," said Deng Haihua, ministry spokesman, at a press conference.

A/H1N1 flu continued to spread and the number of cases, especially serious cases, was rising, Deng said. "The epidemic showed high activity as about 91 percent of flu cases were A/H1N1 flu in China."

The total number of confirmed cases of A/H1N1 flu in the mainland had topped 100,000 and fatalities totaled 326 by Wednesday.

In the week from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6, the country reported 125 deaths from the A/H1N1 flu.

The next two months would be "very critical" for flu control, Deng said.

China started A/H1N1 flu vaccination in September and about 32.38 million people on the mainland have been vaccinated by Wednesday, according to the ministry.

"The vaccination proved to be effective in curbing the spread of the flu," he said.

By Monday, about 3,631 people had been suspected of having adverse reactions against the vaccine.

"About one out of 1 million vaccinated people reported serious adverse reactions in China. This neither exceeded the ratio in clinical tests of A/H1N1 flu vaccines at home and abroad nor figures in other countries where mass vaccinations were conducted," Deng said.

Although the vaccinations proceeded smoothly, the health authorities would work even harder to cover more people, Deng said.

More people would be included in priority groups, including expectant mothers, veterinarians and migrant workers, he said.

"We will speed up the vaccinations," said Liang Wannian, director of the ministry's emergency reaction office. "Now about 1million people are vaccinated daily on average. We hope the figure will increase to 1.5 million daily so that as many as vulnerable people as possible will be vaccinated before the Spring Festival."

The festival and seven-day national vacation, traditionally for family reunions, will run from Feb. 13 to 19.


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