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China's SARS expert calls for vigilance against current influenza A/H1N1 despite low death rate
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15:30, May 06, 2009

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A leading Chinese expert on respiratory diseases has called on people to be vigilant against the current wave of influenza A/H1N1 despite the low death rate from the disease.

Zhong Nanshan, an academician who is respected for his work in China's fight against the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, made the remarks on the sidelines of the World Asthma Day activities held in this capital of south China's Guangdong Province on Tuesday.

"From the view of epidemiology, the current influenza virus strain has not had strong infectivity and virulence." But, he called for great attention to possible mutation of the influenza virus.

Zhong, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, also analyzed an imported influenza A/H1N1 case found in Hong Kong, a Mexican man who was confirmed to be infected by the disease last weekend, after arriving in east China's Shanghai aboard the Mexican flight AM098.

"We have noticed the case because it was similar to our observation of SARS, which caused low infectivity in incubatory period of the disease," he said.

The expert added that the Mexican man showed no symptoms at the Shanghai airport on April 30, where his temperature was repeatedly checked. He was found ill four days later, when he was in Hong Kong, said the expert.

According to the report of the Ministry of Health on Tuesday, none of the passengers on the same flight have shown symptoms.

China has found all 176 passengers who were on the flight and put them under quarantine after the infection case was found.

Zhong said he and several other doctors are working with the health ministry to write a diagnosis and treatment manual of the influenza A/H1N1, which is expected to provide Chinese doctors with a standard reference of the disease treatment.

Deng Ying, director of Beijing Disease Control and Prevention Center, on Tuesday eased the public concerns by saying the disease can be easily cured with right therapy in Chinese hospitals.

The center is monitoring more than 600 medical institutions in Beijing in hopes of preventing the disease," said Deng.

Experts of Chinese traditional medicine in east China's Anhui Province on Wednesday published three traditional prescriptions to help the public to prevent flu.

Chinese traditional pharmacology believes using medicinal herbal drugs to clear away heat and toxic material or herbal fumigation can help prevent flu epidemics.


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