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Sick kids in Shaanxi recover

TESTS showed that the dozens of schoolchildren reported sick in Shaanxi Province in China's northwest were not infected with swine flu.

"They have completely recovered," Liu Shaoming, head of the provincial health administration, told Xinhua news agency.

Liu's remarks came after the World Health Organization's China representative, Hans Troedsson, said earlier in the day in Beijing that Chinese authorities were investigating "several suspected cases" of swine flu in Shaanxi. Troedsson also said there have been no confirmed cases of the disease in China.

Medical examinations by the disease control center in Xi'an, the provincial capital, confirmed the sick children had caught B-type influenza, which is common in humans.

Challenge ahead

A total of 60 schoolchildren and three teachers at the Qianwei Township junior high school in Lantian County experienced fevers in mid-April. The local disease control center reported the situation to the municipal health bureau of Xi'an, which dispatched officials to the site.

Troedsson, speaking at a news conference after meeting with Chinese Health Ministry officials on the country's preparations for a possible swine flu outbreak, acknowledged that Chinese authorities had acted appropriately in isolating students at home and closing the school.

He also said he couldn't exclude the possibility that swine flu disease carriers may have already entered China as the disease has an incubation period of one to two days.

China faces challenges in the event of a major epidemic because of its large and mobile population, he said. But the country has already set up a system that can send disease reports to the Ministry of Health, and all labs in China, including those at the state and provincial levels, have the ability to identify the virus, he said.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region reported four suspected swine flu cases yesterday.

The four patients were undergoing tests, and the results will be released soon.

China's State Council also ordered tighter checks of the poultry industry and its imports and exports, banning pork from Mexico and US states reporting swine flu.


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