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Servant caused H1N1 outbreak

THE swine flu infection involving 22 pupils in a Beijing primary school was caused by a housekeeper, according to the Beijing Health Bureau.

The unnamed servant started work for the family of a student at Nanhu Zhongyuan Primary School in the eastern Chaoyang District on June 25, said Fang Laiying, director of the health bureau.

The same day, the pupil began to show flu symptoms after she had gone to school. The child was being cared for by her grandfather, who confirmed to be H1N1 positive later, Fang said.

Other pupils began to have symptoms two or three days later.

The servant had tested positive for the flu virus but had recovered without treatment, Fang said.

Fang said the servant had worked for an unnamed American couple before working for the new family.

Fang said the American couple had not had flu symptoms and had returned to the United States, but the possibility of their carrying the flu virus could not be ruled out.

Beijing Health Bureau sent an open letter to all the parents in Beijing on Thursday, saying that students should report to school before they travel outside Beijing.

The letter said parents should record all travel information and all those who left the city should remain at home for seven days after their return.

Nanhu Zhongyuan Primary School was closed after seven students were confirmed as having swine flu on Wednesday.

The number rose to 22 as of 7pm yesterday. All the children were in stable condition.

About 150 students, teachers and parents who had close contact with the patients have been quarantined. Other students and staff are under observation at home.

The primary school has 941 students and 78 teachers.

The flu outbreak forced the school to start summer vacation a week early.


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