Published Date: 2010-01-15 22:00:03
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Influenza pandemic (H1N1) (07): China, travel alert
Archive Number: 20100115.0180
INFLUENZA PANDEMIC (H1N1) (07): CHINA, TRAVEL ALERT
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 14 Jan 2010
Source: Mysinchew.com, Agence France-Presse (AFP) report [edited] [edited]
China's Health Ministry has urged vulnerable groups to get swine flu
[influenza pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus] vaccinations or limit travel
during the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year holiday due to the spread
of the pandemic A (H1N1) virus. "Pregnant women, children, the
elderly, obese people, and those with chronic diseases should avoid
public travel during the peak period of Spring Festival travel," the
Ministry said in a statement posted on its website late Wednesday [13
Jan 2010]. Such vulnerable groups should also get swine flu
vaccinations and steer clear of crowded public places and people
showing obvious flu symptoms, it said. The Ministry also urged for
prevention measures to be stepped up, including wearing face masks,
frequently washing hands and getting early medical checkups for coughs
and other flu symptoms, it said.
Tens of millions of people are expected to pack into trains, planes,
and buses during the upcoming Lunar New Year travel period when
Chinese return to their hometowns and villages for annual family
reunions. This year's travel period extends from 30 Jan 2010 to 10 Mar
2010. Lunar New Year's Day, or the start of the traditional Spring
Festival, falls on 14 Feb 2010.
Last week [week of 14 Jan 2010], the Ministry announced it had
recorded 659 swine flu deaths in China 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 total number of pandemic
A (H1N1) infections recorded in 2009 stood at 120 940, it said.
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 the month. On Wednesday
[13 Jan 2010], the Ministry said it had recorded 2173 new cases of the
swine flu and 51 deaths due to the disease from 4 Jan to 10 Jan 2010.
[The figures in the report above reveal that the influenza A (H1N1)
2009 pandemic has come late to China and there is a very real prospect
of an increase in cases of influenza during the Lunar New Year travel
period. Visitors to China during this period should be aware of the
enhanced risk and should be vaccinated accordingly.
The HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of China can be accessed at
<http://healthmap.org/r/008e>. - Mod.CP]