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China Daily Website

China flu cases set to peak in January and February

Updated: 2012-12-21 17:05

More flu cases have been reported in China in December and these are expected to peak in January and February, a health expert said.

Shu Yuelong, director of the Chinese National Influenza Center affiliated with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said,“Flu is still on the rise and will last into March next year. By the end of last week, about 10 percent of patients with common-cold symptoms were actually suffering from influenza,” he told China Daily.

This level is expected to reach 50 percent when the outbreak reaches its peak, he said, citing a national surveillance system launched in 2000.

But seasonal cases of flu are still within the normal range compared with last year, he said, urging more people to get vaccinated. “Each year, only 2 percent of Chinese people on the Chinese mainland receive flu shots, far lower than the international level,” he said.

Shu said flu vaccines were underused in China, given a low public awareness of the disease and immunization.

 “Due to the nation’s death reporting system and limited laboratory capacity, many deaths caused by influenza haven’t been recognized and might be attributed to secondary complications of the disease,” he said.

The World Health Organization estimates that flu causes 250,000 to 500,000 deaths each year worldwide.

Children, the elderly and people with underlying chronic diseases are at particularly high risk of catching flu.