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China reports 1st suspected domestic case

CHINA'S Ministry of Health said today a new suspected case of A/H1N1 flu in southern Guangdong Province was the first case of domestic infection 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 (CDC), the ministry said.

The latter, 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).

On Monday and Tuesday, he and his girlfriend spent two days with workers at a wedding photography studio in Guangzhou to take bridal photos. During that time, they had contact with the infected female, who works as a beautician for the couple.

The female patient developed a sore throat, headache and fever on Wednesday morning. She was sent to hospital on Thursday 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 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. On Thursday they were suspected of being infected with A/H1N1 flu 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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