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Beijing on alert for swine flu
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A Beijing health official said Monday the city will step up monitoring of flu cases after the World Health Organization warned the new strain of swine flu has pandemic potential.

The outbreak has killed at least 103 people and 1,614 suspected cases are under observation in Mexico. Human cases also have been confirmed in countries, including the United States, Canada and Spain.

The Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention will work with 125 local medical institutions to monitor cases of fever, said center director Deng Ying.

Doctors were required to ask the people with flu symptoms if they had recently traveled to Mexico or the United States or been exposed to pigs, said Deng.

The agency would increase stockpiles of medicine and emergency medical equipment and train medical staff to detect and treat human swine flu cases, he said.

Although human swine flu has symptoms similar to common flu, the center urged "the public not to panic as the disease, though new and infectious, is preventable and controllable."

People with fever and other flu symptoms should see a doctor and wear a mask to prevent the disease from spreading, medical experts advised.

The Ministry of Health issued a notice Sunday about swine flu prevention and detection, warning the public to be careful.

The illness had no vaccine as yet, it said.

As of Monday, no cases of the illness had been reported in China.

China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine issued an emergency notice Saturday requiring people to report flu-like symptoms at the point of entry when arriving from affected regions.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the illness is caused by the swine influenza A/H1N1 virus, which contains genetic elements from avian, swine and human flu viruses. It is spread mainly through coughing and sneezing.

(Xinhua News Agency Apirl 28, 2009)


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