Published Date: 2010-01-05 13:00:04
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Influenza pandemic (H1N1) (01): China, 2009
Archive Number: 20100105.0040
INFLUENZA PANDEMIC (H1N1) (01): CHINA, 2009
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon 4 Jan 2010
Source: Yahoo News, Agence France-Presse report [edited]
China records 659 swine flu deaths in 2009
China said Monday [4 Jan 2010] it had recorded 659 swine flu
[influenza pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus infection] deaths in 2009,
nearly all of them in the last 2 months of the year, and warned that
the danger of mass outbreaks still existed in certain areas.
The health ministry said the total number of A(H1N1) [2009 virus]
infections recorded since the virus was 1st detected last year stood
at 120 940. At the end of October , the reported death toll
stood at just 6. The number of recorded deaths then spiked, reaching
about 180 at the start of December  and 659 by the end of that month.
"The danger of an explosion of outbreaks in some places exists, and
the number of fatalities and serious cases will remain at a rather
high level," said Liang Wannian, director of the ministry's emergency
response office. Serious difficulties remained in containing the
spread of the virus in rural areas and at schools, Liang told a press
Ministry officials had already warned of a "grim" winter flu outlook,
and are urging caution ahead of the February  Lunar New Year
holidays, when hundreds of millions of people swamp roads and
railways to visit family.
In November , renowned medical whistle-blower Zhong Nanshan,
who helped expose the scale of the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome [SARS], said the true A(H1N1) death count was
being covered up. The government responded by ordering more accurate
case reporting by officials.
China has so far vaccinated 49.9 million people, Liang said -- the
largest campaign in the world, but still only a small proportion of
the country's 1.3 billion people.
Chinese laboratories were at the forefront of worldwide efforts to
develop and mass-produce a swine flu vaccine, but the quick clinical
trials and production cycle led to concerns that the shot was perhaps
unsafe. Liang said China's vaccine was not linked to the deaths last
month of 2 people following their inoculations. "Following
confirmation, the deaths... had nothing to do with the inoculations,"
Liang said, without giving the causes of death or any details about
the 2 deceased. Officials have said that adverse reactions were only
reported in a handful of cases -- about one out of a million jabs.
[The apparent delayed spread of the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus in
China may in part be due to bureaucratic delay in diagnosis and
reporting of cases. If a real phenomenon the Lunar New Year holiday
on 13-16 Feb 2010 may be a critical period for health care services in China.
The HealthMap//ProMED-mail interactive map of China can be accessed at:
<http://healthmap.org/r/008e>. - Mod.CP]