6 More A/H1N1 Flu Cases Reported in Asia on Fri.
    2009-05-22 23:16:48     Xinhua      Web Editor: Xu Leiying
 
Six more confirmed cases of A/ H1N1 influenza were reported Friday in Asia, including two on the Chinese mainland, three in China's Taiwan and one in Hong Kong.

As of press time, there are seven confirmed cases of A/H1N1 influenza on China's mainland, five in Taiwan and four in Hong Kong.

On Friday, Chinese capital Beijing reported its third and fourth confirmed A/H1N1 flu patients.

The third case involved a 69-year-old man who returned from Canada. He arrived in Beijing together with his wife on May 16 on flight AC031 from Toronto, the Beijing Municipal Health Department said in a press release.

The couple were picked up by their son at the airport and driven home in a private car.

Zhang began to develop a fever around 9 a.m. Thursday, along with muscle pain. He was then taken to No. 302 Hospital of the People's Liberation Army for treatment, where he has since been in quarantine.

Zhang tested positive for the A/H1N1 virus in samples obtained from him by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and the Municipal Center of Disease Control and Prevention Friday, said the press release.

The fourth case was reportedly involved a 65-year-old man, who arrived in Beijing from New York on flight CA982 on Thursday. He developed a fever upon arrival, the municipal health authority said.

Hong Kong reported the fourth confirmed case of influenza A/ H1N1, which involved a female student who recently came back from the United States, local health authorities announced Friday evening.

The patient, a 19-year-old local resident studying in the U.S., returned from New York to Hong Kong onboard the Cathay Pacific flight CX831 on May 18, said Thomas Tsang, controller of the Center for Health Protection at a press briefing on Friday.

Tsang said that the patient was on the same flight taken by a Taiwanese man who was confirmed as the first A/H1N1 flu patient in Taiwan on May 20. The two sat two rows apart on the plane and it was still unclear if the female patient contracted the new strain from the man.

The woman did not develop any flu symptom until May 21 and has been rushed to the Princess Margaret Hospital for quarantine, he said, adding that her parents will go through some body check-ups arranged by health authorities.

Taiwan's three cases on Friday involved a woman returning from the Philippines and two students flying back from the United States.

Meanwhile, two confirmed A/H1N1 influenza patients were discharged from hospitals in Beijing and Guangzhou, south China, on Friday after a week of treatment.

On Friday, Philippine health officials went on alert after the first A/H1N1 flu case was confirmed in the Philippines, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said.

They are working to trace people that were in close contact with the 10-year-old patient who was tested positive for the virus on Thursday.

The parents of the Filipino girl are already in quarantine while their other 18 family members are also under observation, WHO country representative Dr. Soe Nyunt-U told reporters.

Health officials are trying to detect the passengers on the same flight with the young patient when they arrived on May 18 from the United States.

Vietnam is closely monitoring the health of 35 passengers sharing the same flight with a woman who was later found with A/ H1N1 virus and being quarantined in South Korea, the local newspaper the Youth reported on Friday.

All the passengers are in good health and in quarantine, said the Vietnamese Ministry of Health.

Besides the above quarantined 35 passengers, Vietnam also reported another two A/H1N1 suspected cases, with higher temperatures and they were suspected of having the flu A/H1N1 virus, said the local media.

The Cambodian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday issued a joint statement claiming there is no confirmed cases of Influenza A/H1N1 in Cambodia.

"The ministry of health would like to advise that as of May 22, 2009, no cases of Influenza A/H1N1 virus have been confirmed in the country," the statement said.

The Cambodian Health Ministry received an urgent letter Wednesday from the South Korean Embassy warning that three Cambodian-Americans were on the same flight from the United States to South Korea with a passenger who was later confirmed to have Influenza A/H1N1. The three individuals subsequently flew on a separate flight to Phnom Penh on Sunday.

At the time of their arrival in Cambodia, the three passengers did not display influenza symptoms, according to the statement. The ministry officials are now seeking to locate these passengers to assess their well-being and to offer them testing.

South Korea on Friday lowered its trade alert level placed on Mexico as the Latin American country removed Influenza A restrictions on its capital, the nation's foreign ministry said.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the South Korean government decided to lower its alert level on Mexico one notch down from the third-strongest "travel restriction" alert level to the "travel discretion" level.

Australia's AH1N1 flu alert level, however, has been raised from delay to contain, Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced on Friday.

Roxon said the main concerning was the two cases of the virus being contracted in people who had not traveled recently or been in contact with someone carrying the virus.

The upgrade in alert means further measures are likely to be put in place across the country to try to contain the spread of the AH1N1 virus.

Roxon said raising the alert level enabled the government to ensure it acted appropriately as the disease spreads in Australia.

The decision comes as the first case of human to human transmission was confirmed at the Clifton Hill Primary School in Victoria.

A regional World Health Organization (WHO) expert warned Friday in Manila, the Philippines that the spread of the influenza A/H1N1 virus may pick up in the Asia Pacific region with the onset of southern winter and the threat joined by the spread of seasonal influenza might take a heavy toll on countries' health system.

Dr. Julie Hall, an expert on Emerging Infectious Diseases, told a press conference in the WHO Western Pacific Office that flu is usually seasonal, while there are no signs of slowdown in the spread of the A/H1N1 flu virus in the north hemisphere that enters summer, the south is facing more downside risks as the seasonal flu usually kicks in during the winter.

She said with vaccines of seasonal flu proven to be ineffective to the A/H1N1 influenza, humans can catch both flu at the same time.

Countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Pacific islands are urged to be particularly vigilant to the double influenza threat.

By 0600 GMT May 22, the WHO has reported 11,168 cases of influenza A/H1N1 worldwide with 86 deaths since the first suspected cases were reported in Mexico in mid-April.
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