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December 31, 2009

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Swine flu poses big risks to the pregnant

PREGNANT women are vulnerable to swine flu at any stage of pregnancy and are likely to develop a serious case if they catch the virus, according to a prevention and treatment guideline released by the Ministry of Health yesterday.

The guideline suggests women planning to have children delay that by taking contraceptive measures while swine flu is at a peak.

Almost 14 percent of the deaths from the H1N1 infection on the Chinese mainland were among pregnant women, the ministry said earlier.

Officials from Shanghai Health Bureau said they are still working on an inoculation plan for pregnant women, who were included in the second batch of the most at-risk population for swine flu by the health ministry earlier this month.

Medical experts hailed the guideline and encouraged pregnant women to get vaccinated.

"Recent researches found the swine flu virus can enter the placenta and could result in deformity of the fetus," said Dr Lu Hongzhou, a member of Shanghai's swine flu expert panel. "There is also a possibility of mother-to-infant infection."

He said the city has detected several pregnant women with serious swine flu infections. All patients survived after treatment.

"The principle is to save the pregnant women, who may be urged to have pregnancy termination, or caesarean surgery if at the late stage of pregnancy," he said.

According to the guideline, pregnant women are more likely to develop into serious cases if they have eight kinds of diseases, including chronic problems with the respiratory system, cardio-vascular system, nerve system, inner secretion system and some major organs.


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