H1N1 Cases Continue to Climb in China

December 11, 2009 Updated: December 14, 2009

As of the first week of December, 564 confirmed H1N1 flu cases had been reported in Eastern China’s Shandong Province, including 89 severe cases and 15 deaths, according to announcement from Shandong Provincial Health Department. There were three deaths reported for November.

An Epoch Times reporter learned from Qingdao Municipal Bureau of Public Heath that the ratio of H1N1 flu cases compared to seasonal influenza strains had reached 90 percent in Shandong. The results are similar to those in neighboring Hebei province. Data there from Nov. 11 to 29 shows the ratio of H1N1 flu cases compared to seasonal influenza to be about 88 percent, according to the Hebei Provincial Health Department.

The reported deaths likely represent only a fraction of the actual number as many hospitals stopped testing for H1N1 among people with flu symptoms or stopped counting individual cases. Thus the reported H1N1 death rate in China has remained below the reported average rate in other countries.

According to Ms. Li of Jinan City, the capital of Shandong Province, doctors have said, “We cannot do tests for H1N1 and only diagnose the illness as normal flu unless the patient is severely ill.” Ms. Li said, “Without tests, the doctor does not know if the patient is infected with the H1N1 virus.”

A resident in Shijiazhuang City, the capital of Hebei Province, told New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV): “Many residents in our neighborhood catch cold. There could be a few in each family. The number of H1N1 infectors should not be so small. My son’s school has been closed [because of a flu outbreak].”

A staff in the Shijiazhuang’s Disease Control Center (DCC) said, “Due to the many patients during flu season, we do not report on H1N1 anymore. We just treat all of them as having the normal flu.”

In an interview on Dec. 9, a health-care worker in the First Affiliated Hospital, Xian Jiaotong University in Northwestern China’s Shaanxi Province, told a NTDTV reporter that 500 to 600 visits to clinics were recorded every day during the recent week, and half of them test positive for H1N1.

On Nov. 27, a 27-year-old pregnant woman, Ms. Gong, died of H1N1 flu in Hubei Provincial People’s Hospital of Central China’s Hubei province. Her body was cremated four hours later without the consent of the family. Her family sought help from many local media agencies, but there is no news about the matter so far.

Her husband Mr. Zeng, told an Epoch Times reporter that his wife was sent to the hospital on Nov. 26 and was confirmed to have a severe H1N1 case in the morning and then passed away in the afternoon of Nov. 27.

Mr. Zeng said that his family wanted to see his wife for the last time. But their request was denied by the DCC with the excuse that the “Law on Prevention and Control of Infection Diseases” requires the corpse to be cremated directly.

According to another relative, her seven-month-old fetus was not saved.

Mr. Zeng said, “I made a lot of calls to media agencies. A reporter told me the provincial party committee and government do not allow publishing such stories.”

In Hebei Province, there were 2,199 H1N1 cases confirmed with 16 in a serious condition and one fatality, as of Nov. 27, according to the Provincial Department of Public Health.