|Ministry orders stepped-up flu monitoring after first confirmed A/H1N1 case (05/12/09)|
BEIJING, May 12 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Health has ordered heightened monitoring of seasonal flu, and the prompt notification of A/H1N1 influenza cases to the ministry, in the wake of the first confirmed A/H1N1 case on the mainland.
All China's provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions on the mainland must monitor seasonal flu year round, Ma Xiaowei, vice health minister said at a teleconference on flu prevention late Monday night.
All city-level disease prevention and control authorities, and at least one comprehensive hospital in every city, must set up monitoring departments, Ma said.
Suspected or confirmed cases of A/H1N1 flu must be reported to the ministry within two hours of discovery, he said.
The development came hours after China confirmed a Chinese mainland male, surnamed Bao, who recently returned from the United States, tested positive for the A/H1N1 influenza.
It was the first such case on the Chinese mainland. According to the health ministry, Bao is currently "recovering with a normal body temperature", and is "showing good spirits".
"Given the increasing number of A/H1N1 cases worldwide and the frequent international exchanges, it is inevitable for the virus to enter China," Ma said.
So far, the A/H1N1 flu has caused 61 deaths worldwide and infected about 4,800 in 31 countries, including at least 1,626 in Mexico, 2,618 in the United States and 330 in Canada.
"We are faced with even more serious challenges now," Ma said, "Stepped-up efforts must be made to stop further entrance of the virus into China, and to prevent the virus from spreading within the country."
Health Minister Chen Zhu, also at the teleconference, said China must increase its store of anti-flu drugs and vaccines.
The country's health authorities at all levels from Monday were looking for passengers who had traveled on the same flights as Baoto Beijing and Chengdu.
By Tuesday morning, 201 of all 233 passengers who arrived in Beijing on board the Northwest Airlines flight NW029 on May 9 had been put under medical observation, said the health ministry.
A total of 10 crew members and 150 passengers were on board the Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8882 with Bao from Beijing to Chengdu the same day. Among them, two people could not be reached by Tuesday, while the rest were also under medical observation, said the ministry.