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China confirms first case of swine flu on mainland

A CHINESE mainland male surnamed Bao, who recently returned from the United States, tested positive for the A/H1N1 influenza, China's ministry of health said today.

The 30-year-old patient was at the Chengdu Infectious Disease Hospital in Sichuan's provincial capital and those who had close contact with him were isolated for observation.

The patient is currently in a stable condition with a normal body temperature, and is "recovering", the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on its website.

It is the first such case reported in the Chinese mainland.

Bao arrived in Beijing on board the Northwest Airlines flight NW029 on May 9, after making a transfer in Tokyo from St. Louis, in the United States. His body temperature was normal when entering China. He then flew from Beijing to Chengdu on Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8882 the same day.

Bao was found to have a fever on the flight from Beijing to Chengdu accompanied by sore throats, coughing, a stuffy nose and sneezing.

He went to the Sichuan People's Hospital after getting off the plane, and was tested "weakly positive" to A/H1N1 virus twice by the Sichuan Center for Disease Control and Prevention. He was then transferred to the Chengdu Infectious Disease Hospital.

The health ministry said most of the passengers on board the same flight from Beijing to Chengdu with Bao had already been tracked down and isolated at local health institutions in 21 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.

The Sichuan health department also said this morning that more than 130 of the 150 passengers from the flight were in quarantine.

Bao is the second confirmed case of A/H1N1 influenza in China, after the World Health Organization expressed concern at an outbreak of the flu in the United States and Mexico late last month.

A 25-year-old male Mexican was confirmed on May 1 in Hong Kong to be infected with influenza A/H1N1, and those who were in close contact with him have been put under quarantine in 19 mainland provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions as well as Hong Kong and Macao.

So far, the A/H1N1 flu has already caused 53 deaths worldwide, and infected more than 4,500 people in 29 countries, including at least 1,626 in Mexico, at least 2,532 in the United States and 280in Canada.

Haunted by memories of the SARS outbreak in 2003, China has taken tough action to try to block the virus from spreading the world's most populous country.

The country's flu-prevention measures include bans on pork product imports from countries and areas affected by the A/H1N1 influenza, and suspension of flights from Mexico to Shanghai. The country also placed some travelers from Mexico, who had been on the same flight with a person infected with the A/H1N1 influenza, under a week-long quarantine.

Although the strict measures drew complaints from Mexico, Chinese health and law experts backed the government's efforts as necessary and in line with China's laws.


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