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China Reports Lower Flu Incidence

Incidence of flu on the Chinese mainland this year was lower than the average of previous years, both in the north and the south of the country, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

By March 9, flu sufferers accounted for 3.47 percent of the outpatients in flu surveillance hospitals in south China and 5.2 percent in the north. Both were lower than figures in the same period in 2005, 2006 and 2007, according to the ministry.

The country reported 9,071 people involved in 118 cases of flu epidemic from April 1, 2007 to March 12, 2008 where no people died.

The flu cases mainly took the form of Haemophilus Influenza type B.

Surveillance results showed the incidence of flu had not been a rising trend compared with previous years, the ministry said.

Chinese flu experts, however, warned in this flu-active season, small-scale flu epidemic that leads to the deaths of a few sufferers on the mainland was hard to prevent.

China started monitoring flu in the 1950s. The country joined the international flu monitoring network set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1981.

So far, the government had established 63 surveillance laboratories and about 200 national-level flu surveillance hospitals, covering 31 provincial-level areas.

(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2008)

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