The A/H1N1 influenza, which has killed more than 700 people on the Chinese mainland, will continue to spread in the country in 2010, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said here Monday.
In a statement posted on the MOH website, the ministry said people on the Chinese mainland still had limited access to immunization protection against the A/H1N1 flu, and that regional outbreaks of the disease could yet to be rule out.
As of Jan. 17, more than 63 million Chinese people had been inoculated with the A/H1N1 flu vaccine. The disease had killed at least 710 people by Jan. 10.
Risks of mass infection of the influenza might increase due to the upcoming Spring Festival, or traditional Chinese New Year, in February during which a huge number of Chinese people, mostly migrant workers and students, would travel back home for family reunions, the MOH said.
The ministry urged local health authorities to strengthen monitoring and reporting of the A/H1N1 influenza, while making sound efforts to handle other possible public health emergencies.
Public health emergency refers to major epidemics, diseases of unknown origin, serious food poisoning or occupational poisoning cases, and other incidents like bird flu.
A total of 1,004 people on the Chinese mainland were killed by those incidents in 2009, a drastic increase of more than 140 percent compared with the figure in 2008.
The MOH attributed the rise mainly to the wide spread of the A/H1N1 influenza, citing the number of death cases would actually drop by over 14 percent, if death toll from the A/H1N1 flu had not been included in the total count.