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Make-up artist suspected to be 1st domestic infection patient

CHINA'S Ministry of Health said today a female make-up artist in Guangdong Province was suspected to be the first case of domestic A/H1N1 flu transmission on the mainland.

The patient, a 24-year-old female, used to have a close contact with a 28-year-old Chinese-American man who was confirmed today as Guangdong's third A/H1N1 flu patient by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the ministry said.

The man, who works in a hospital in New York, developed a sore throat on May 24 after he flew from New York to Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, via Incheon City in the Republic of Korea. He fell ill and went to hospital Wednesday (May 27).

Before that day, he and his girlfriend Monday and Tuesday hired a wedding photography studio in Guangzhou to take their bridal photos in several outdoor spots. During that time, they had contact with the suspected patient, who works as a make-up artist for the couple.

The woman developed a sore throat, headache and fever on Wednesday morning. She was sent to hospital yesterday and tested positive to the A/H1N1 flu virus by the provincial CDC. The result still needs a review by the national CDC.

"Both patients are in a stable condition at present," the Health Ministry said, but noting the cases have caused "great concerns" at the national level.

Health Minister Chen Zhu has sent an expert team to Guangdong. The ministry also plans to call a national video conference this afternoon to discuss further control steps.

Medical experts warned earlier that China faces a growing risk of domestic spread of the A/H1N1 flu as more cases from abroad are being discovered.

Also today, the Health Ministry announced that two new suspected H1N1 flu cases were reported in Guangdong's Shenzhen City, near Hong Kong.

The patients, a 22-year-old American male and his 21-year-old sister, took the flight CI0011 from New York to Taipei on May 17, and took CI0601 from Taipei to Hong Kong two days later. They traveled to Guangdong's Dongguan City, Shenzhen City and Hong Kong by car on several occasions.

On Wednesday they were found to have fevers while crossing border at Shenzhen from Hong Kong, and were sent to hospital for treatment. They were suspected of being infected with A/H1N1 flu yesterday following tests conducted by the Guangdong provincial CDC.

All eleven people who had close contact with the two patients are now under medical observation, the ministry said.


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