Nearly six months after its first detection in Mexico, the H1/N1 virus has only now claimed one of China’s own. The victim was an 18-year-old woman in Lhasa, the capital of the far western Tibet Autonomous Region. Admitted to the Maizhokunggar county hospital on Saturday with a cough, sore throat, and stiff muscles, she was pronounced dead at around 3:20AM on Sunday, says WSJ.
Previously, a 34-year-old female patient in Zhejiang province had been recovering from H1/N1 when she was found dead on her toilet. However, the death was ruled as accidental; the hospital said her temperature had been normal for a week, she was coughing only occasionally and her other symptoms were disappearing.
China’s health department has taken extra precautions to combat the spread of H1/N1, especially flu season, having prepared enough Tamiflu for a startling ten million people. Last month, the State Food and Drug Administration approved two single-dose swine flu vaccines. The World Health Organization endorsed the use of vaccines to prevent swine flu; WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said the current vaccine formulation is among the safest vaccines the organization has seen. Beijing has initiated mass vaccinations against swine flu on September 21, making China one of the first nations to start inoculating the nation against the virus, according to AP.
Beijing is currently providing a free and voluntary inoculation to vaccinate all primary and middle school students against the H1N1 flu from October 8 to October 30, says China Daily. An epidemic report by the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that among new infections in September, 90 percent occurred at schools as the new semester kicked off. Other strict measures China have undertaken include quarantining large numbers of visiting foreigners and restricting imports of pork products from North America and Europe.
Mainland China has reported more than 21,000 confirmed cases of the H1/N1 influenza. Authorities in Hong Kong, which maintain a separate reporting system, have reported around 28,000 confirmed H1/N1 cases and 28 deaths. Worldwide, more than 4,100 people have died of swine flu. Though the H1/N1 strain of the flu has not increased in severity, experts stress that H1/N1 and influenza viruses in general, remains unpredictable.