World Notes: “Grim” Winter Flu Outlook for China

 

BEIJING: Agence France Presse reported that all but six of China’s 659 deaths from H1N1 were recorded in the last two months of 2009, suggesting the flu is on the upswing. While H1N1 is declining in major cities, China’s Health Ministry reports H1N1 is spreading into the countryside. Ministry officials described the winter flu outlook as “grim” and fear a rise in cases in connection with upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations. China has vaccinated around 50 million people. The country’s population is 1.3 billion. News accounts suggest China’s H1N1 death counts are understated. In November 2009, Dr Zhong Nanshan (who had exposed government coverups in the 1993 SARS epidemic) accused officials of not testing deaths from severe pneumonia cases, resulting in lower H1N1 mortality figures.

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AFP: China records 659 swine flu deaths in 2009
Reuters: China’s official H1N1 death count suspect: report
Reuters; China says H1N1 flu spreading into the countryside

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