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China seeks passengers with exposure to new A/H1N1 flu case
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08:50, May 15, 2009

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China's Ministry of Health confirmed Wednesday a Shandong man has tested positive for the A/H1N1 flu. And authorities are seeking plane and train passengers who had exposure to this man.

The case, the second of its kind on the Chinese mainland, involved a 19-year-old student surnamed Lu who arrived in Beijing from Canada May 8 and traveled to Jinan, provincial capital of Shandong, three days later in a train labeled D41. The patient's surname, Lu, could also be spelled as Lv for convenience of Chinese character input.

The development came just two days after a 30-year-old man surnamed Bao was found to have contracted the virus in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Bao is the first confirmed case of A/H1N1 on the Chinese mainland.

Canadian Embassy in Beijing confirmed Wednesday that Lu, who studied at a Canadian university, boarded Air Canada flight AC029 together with his Chinese girlfriend surnamed Zhang, in Toronto at noon May 7, and stopped in Vancouver before arriving in Beijing May 8.

An unidentified embassy spokesman, however, said the embassy had no information on the number of Canadian nationals aboard the flight or their whereabouts.

Beijing Airport authorities said Lu's body temperature was normal when he arrived in Beijing.

The photo taken on May 13, 2009 from video shows the confirmed A/H1N1 patient surnamed Lv (R) at an ICU of the Jinan Infectious Disease Hospital in Jinan, east China's Shandong Province. China's Ministry of Health confirmed Wednesday the 19-year-old student surnamed Lv who returned from Canada last week has tested positive for the A/H1N1 influenza. (Xinhua/Fan Changguo)

Both Lu and Zhang, Lu's girlfriend, stayed in Beijing for three more days. Zhang, a 17-year-old girl, later took a private car sent by her parents to take her home to Tianjin Monday.

The Chinese Health Ministry disclosed Wednesday Lu had a fever May 10 and developed a sore throat and headache May 11. He took his temperature himself and had a reading of 39 degrees Celsius.

Lu left Beijing by train D41 Monday evening for Jinan, and reported by phone to the Jinan Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) while on the train. He was later sent to the Jinan Infectious Disease Hospital for isolation and treatment.

The Jinan CDC and Shandong CDC conducted tests on the virus specimen of the patient Tuesday, which showed that he was "suspected positive" for A/H1N1.

The Health Ministry also said Lu was "recovering with a normal body temperature".

The country's health authorities had begun to trace those in close contact with Lu during his travels. Tracing train passengers could be more difficult than plane passengers in China as ID is not required before boarding.

Health authorities in Shandong Province said they had reached 19 of the 43 other passengers who were in the same carriage as Lu when they traveled back from Beijing to Jinan by train Monday. Eighteen of the found passengers were receiving medical observation at home, and the last one was sent back to Beijing for quarantine.

Eight workers serving train D41 that night were also put under medical observation.

Zong Lin, chief of disease control and prevention section with Shandong Provincial Health Bureau, said they were tightening cooperation with a local mobile phone service operator and a local TV station in sending text messages and running roll-on subtitles with TV programs in pursuit of the rest train passengers.

Tianjin Municipal Health Bureau said Wednesday they had found four passengers who were on the same flight AC029 with Lu, including Ms Zhang, Lu's girlfriend. All the four were arranged to stay in an unidentified establishment for keeping a week-long medical observation as of Wednesday. They didn't show symptoms of the virus.

Zhang's parents were said to be under medical observation at home. They also showed no symptoms of the virus, according to the municipal health bureau of Tianjin.

Health Department in east China's Jiangsu Province said Wednesday they had contacted one local who had traveled on the same flight AC029 as Lu, and put him under quarantine. Family members of this flight passenger found in Jiangsu were also under observation at home. They didn't show symptoms.

He Jun, spokesman of Chengdu City Health Bureau, said Wednesday they had contacted one foreign national in Chengdu who was said tobe in the same flight AC029 as Lu. The foreign national, whose name is not disclosed and a companion, were put under quarantine.

Bao, the Chinese mainland's first A/H1N1 flu case, who has been kept at Chengdu Infectious Diseases Hospital for isolation and medical treatment for four days, is recovering rapidly.

"He shows normal temperature, eats normally, and is in good mood too," said He, the spokesman. Another 126 people who had contact with Bao have been put under quarantine at a local camp in Chengdu. There are no reports of flu symptoms.

Beijing, Jinan, capital of Shandong, and Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, have taken measures to prevent spreading of A/H1N1 flu via mass transit.

A government employee with a family name as Li in Beijing was about to travel by air to Xiamen, a port city in east China's Fujian Province, for a business trip Thursday.

"I almost want to cancel this trip, for I am afraid to be one of those unlucky passengers sitting next to a potentially new A/H1N1 flu case, and if that is the case, I will have to be isolated for a week-long quarantine operation," said Li with a sigh.

Zhang Yushun, a resident from Jinan who was to travel to Beijing by train Wednesday, said his family members worried after they learned of the Shandong case.

"They told me not to have close contact with other people," said Zhang Yushun, "I know this is no big deal, but still I am kind of afraid to get infected of the virus."


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