China Focus: Beijing, neighbors move to contain flu outbreak

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-12 20:11:28|Editor: Lifang
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BEIJING, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Beijing and neighboring regions are taking measures to contain the winter flu outbreak, as various viruses put pressure on medical resources.

Flu infections this winter are 71 percent above the average for the same period in the previous three years, with child cases rising sharply.

Influenza virus B, as well as H1N1 and H3N2, subtypes of influenza virus A, are among the most widespread, said Wang Quanyi, with the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

He said the lack of significant precipitation since late October and large temperature differences between day and night have contributed to the spread in Beijing.

The city has encouraged children and the elderly to be vaccinated and to date, 1.3 million of them have been, 90,000 more than the whole of last winter.

Health authorities released a list of 147 hospitals with pediatric services, with a total daily reception capacity of 20,000 child outpatients, so that parents know where to take their sick children, instead of swarming into already crowded top hospitals.

The outbreak has greatly increased workload of pediatricians, many of whom have become sick themselves.

In Haihe Hospital, Tianjin Municipality, all the three doctors asked for sick leave, leading to suspension of pediatric clinics from Monday.

The services were not resumed until Thursday, when two pediatricians from elsewhere were seconded to the hospital.

Neighboring Hebei Province has a shortage of flu medicine such as oseltamivir phosphate, as residents have stocked up after hearing of "special effects."

"I finally paid a pharmacy double to buy the medicine, as the hospital and several other pharmacies had already run out," said a man in the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang who bought oseltamivir phosphate for his pregnant wife on prescription.

Provincial health authorities are pursing new stocks of medicines.

Zhou Chunhua, a pharmacist with Hebei Medical University, said there was no need to overreact, as most patients recover in seven days through their own immune systems.

Wang with the Beijing disease prevention and control center said the flu outbreak in Beijing had reached its peak and would ease in the next two weeks.

Flu cases in the last week of 2017 increased by 20.7 percent from the previous week in Beijing, and dropped by 5.76 percent in the first week of 2018.

"Considering schools and kindergartens will soon have their winter vacation and Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, the spread situation will be further eased," he said.