Battle against H1N1 may develop new diagnosis

Some patients infected by the H1N1 virus are now being treated at home instead of immediately hospitalized.

The change comes as the Chinese government adjusts its efforts in light of the flu's continued spread.

When asked if this meant the government was easing its control measures, Liang Wannian, deputy director of the emergency response office under the Ministry of Health, said: "We are closely watching the pandemic development across the nation and will adjust measures accordingly."

In light of increased knowledge of the virus, health authorities are searching for more effective and efficient countermeasures to combat the pandemic, he said.

In southern Guangdong province, where several outbreaks at the community level have been detected, some patients with minor conditions are being treated and quarantined at home. Liang said this "experiment" helped optimize medical resources and improved efficiency.

Shu Yuelong, deputy director of the Chinese Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, said health experts would evaluate the effectiveness of the country's pandemic control and prevention measures.

As of yesterday, China had 766 confirmed H1N1 cases and the virus is still spreading rapidly with occasional outbreaks at the community level, Shu said.

"So far no virus mutation, drug resistance or life threatening cases have been found," he said. "But we are expecting possible deaths among susceptible people including pregnant women and those with pre-existing conditions."

"The susceptible group actually is large so we are preparing for vaccine and medicine stockpiling," Liang said.

Enough doses of H1N1 vaccine to cover 1 percent of the Chinese population would be prepared before Oct 1, he said.

"Experts are now busy devising the inoculation plan," he noted. "Not everyone in the country needs to be vaccinated."

Other countermeasures including checks and quarantine for the virus at the border would remain the same, as 72 percent of confirmed cases so far are imported, said Liu Deping, director of the border check department of General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Vivian Tan, press officer of the WHO Beijing office, said that while China is clearly serious about limiting the pandemic's spread, it could make its response more "resource-effective" if the situation continued.

"China is serious about limiting the spread of the pandemic and has the resources to maintain a high level of control measures such as quarantine," she said.

[source:china daily]