China: 70 sick with flu in southern Chinese hospital

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Fears of swine flu outbreak ‘confirmed’ after more than 70 people sick in hospital in south China

Nearly 70 people have been sickened with swine flu in a southern Chinese hospital.

The sick patients were aged between eight and 67 and were found in Yunnan province’s Wengchi county, the China News Service reported on Friday.

Almost 30 were from a labour camp and 12 were being treated at hospitals, according to the statement. Two more people were being treated at nearby hospitals, it said.

A prolonged spell of humid weather, known as the “Shanxi fog”, has raised concerns of an outbreak of other strains of flu, including Asian listeria and pandemic H7N9.

Officials said a 30-year-old man was in a critical condition, while the nine-year-old boy was in a serious condition. Eight were old enough to be parents, including two of the labour camp patients.

“With the weather condition in rural southern China this autumn we have been having a great recall of seasonal flu virus,” a ministry of health spokesman, Chen Feng, said.

The illness is most commonly spread by coughing, sneezing and talking, but can also cause other respiratory tract infections, pneumonia and kidney failure. Swine flu has killed 700 people in China this year.

The 2014-15 outbreak of the H7N9 strain – China’s most feared pandemic for a decade – killed 36,000 people worldwide, while a 2009 surge of H1N1 disease killed 775.

Additional reporting by AFP

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