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Chinese hospital's H1N1 flu patients develop meningitis; report.

HONG KONG, Nov. 27 Kyodo

At least six patients in China's Shenzhen who came down with the new H1N1 strain of influenza A have also developed meningitis, a complication that is rare though cases have been reported in other countries, mainland media reported Friday.

The outspoken Nanfang Daily said that of 17 new serious H1N1 cases at the Shenzhen Third People's Hospital that were reported this month, five adults and a child developed potentially life-threatening viral meningitis.

Shenzhen flu expert and team member Liu Yingxia was quoted in the report as saying the flu virus was ''frequently attacking the victims' brains'' in those cases.

Another child at a children's hospital has been declared brain dead after succumbing to the complications, the report said.

The cause of the viral meningitis in the flu victims is not yet known, but Liu said frontline medical staff have been told to pay attention to flu victims who also suffer headache, vomiting and seizure.

Feng Shaoming, spokesman of the Guangdong Health Bureau that oversees Shenzhen, said, ''Not one case of the reported influenza A victims suffering from meningitis has been confirmed.''

''Tests are ongoing,'' Feng said. ''The number of serious influenza A cases has risen due to a relaxed definition released recently, but the weekly confirmed cases remain in single digit.''

While Liu said Shenzhen has entered the second wave of H1N1 outbreak, a health official in Hong Kong, located opposite Shenzhen across a border that sees a frequent exchange of people and goods, said they are watching the situation closely.

''We have been maintaining close contacts with mainland authorities especially in southern China,'' said Gabriel Leung, the undersecretary for food and health. ''We are getting ready for the second wave, which is yet to arrive (in Hong Kong).''

As of Thursday, Hong Kong had recorded about 32,000 infections and 41 deaths by H1N1, while mainland China has some 60,800 cases and a death toll of 70.

The World Health Organization says that as of Nov. 15, there were at least 526,060 H1N1 infection cases recorded globally, including 6,770 deaths.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Nov 30, 2009
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