Mon, May 18, 2009
China > Mainland > 2009 A/H1N1 Flu outbreak

Student sets template for flu caution

2009-05-18 00:13:35 GMT2009-05-18 08:13:35 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (2nd L) talks with a confirmed A(H1N1) flu patient through a video system at Beijing Ditan Hospital on Sunday. [Xinhua]

A hospital worker wearing a mask listens to a man at an entrance to a flu inspection clinic in Ditan Hospital, in Beijing May 17, 2009. [AP]

The first person who tested positive for H1N1 flu in Beijing has been hailed as a model for returning overseas students as Hong Kong Sunday confirmed its third infection and Japan reported dozens of new cases.

An 18-year-old surnamed Liu, who is studying at a university in New York state, virtually isolated herself on her return to Beijing on May 11.

Liu, who flew on board Continental Airlines flight C089, did not go out or meet friends as a precaution because the two other confirmed cases on the mainland were students returning from the US and Canada.

She felt unwell on May 12, and two days later, went to the outpatient section of Peking University First Hospital complaining of cough, headache, sore throat, chest congestion and muscle ache as well as temperature of 37.7 C.

She was shifted to Beijing Ditan Hospital early on Friday, and the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences confirmed she had contracted the A(H1N1) virus on Saturday.

Liu was last night reported to be in a stable condition, with her temperature back to normal.

She was cited as an example for students returning from flu-affected countries as being "responsible to society" because she kept a diary about her movements in Beijing, said Fang Laiying, director of the Beijing municipal health bureau.

"She even kept the taxi receipt (for the trip to the hospital)," said Fang. "Otherwise it would have been difficult for us to trace the driver."

Liu's mother and the taxi driver were put under medical observation but neither has shown flu symptoms, said Deng Ying, director of Beijing CDC.

Premier Wen Jiabao Sunday visited the Ditan Hospital and talked with Liu via a video link.

Wen said overseas students in epidemic areas should learn and do more to protect themselves from the flu.

"We are concerned about your health," he said.

Meanwhile, the first H1N1 patient on the mainland was discharged from a hospital in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, Sunday.

The patient surnamed Bao, confirmed to have contracted the flu on May 11, left the Chengdu Infectious Disease Hospital at 4:30 pm. He returned to his hometown of Neijiang city in the province along with his father and girlfriend, who had completed their quarantine, said Tian Ming, deputy chief of the hospital.

By 3 pm Sunday, all the 157 people in quarantine in Sichuan were released as they did not show any abnormal symptoms, said Wang Zhengrong, deputy chief of the Sichuan provincial health department.

In Hong Kong, the latest patient, a 23-year-old mainland student studying in the US, arrived late Saturday aboard Cathay Pacific flight CX 831, said Thomas Tsang, controller of the Center for Health Protection.

He was taken to hospital directly from the airport after he triggered the alarm while passing thermal screening.

Worldwide, the number of confirmed cases has climbed to 8,480 and the death toll has remained at 72, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest update Sunday.

The confirmation of cases in India, Malaysia and Turkey brought the number of countries with confirmed cases to 39, the WHO said.

Japan's health ministry confirmed dozens of new cases in waves of announcements Sunday, as the government shut down schools and canceled community activities in affected cities.

The country now has 44 confirmed cases, with 39 of them reported over the weekend, most of them teenagers.

The vast majority of cases have been in Mexico and the United States. The spread of the disease has led the WHO to declare that a pandemic is imminent. On April 29 it raised its pandemic alert to 5 on a 6-level scale.

AP contributed to the story

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