China's top officials say they are ready to combat swine flu, if the
illness shows up in the country. Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing.
Chinese Health Minister Chen Zhu urged basic hygiene as an effective first line of defense against swine flu.
urged people to cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when they
cough or sneeze. He said people also should not spit and should put
what he described as "any mouth secretions" into a tissue that is
thrown away in a garbage pail with a lid.
Chinese authorities have not yet found a case of swine flu in the country - in either a human or a pig.
says if a human case is found, Chinese authorities will report it in a
timely manner, quarantine the patient and give treatment, according to
plans and according to China's laws and regulations.
reporters in Beijing Thursday that China is working on developing a
swine flu vaccination. He says the Chinese government has already
submitted a request to the World Health Organization to acquire strains
of the virus, from areas that have already been affected.
China's Vice Agriculture Minister Gao Hongbin had strong criticism for
the name of the illness, swine flu, which implies that pigs are somehow
Gao says China is a big producer and consumer of pork, and that, despite misconceptions, pork is still safe to eat.
says the government pays close attention to and cares strongly about
anything related to pig production because it is closely linked to the
national economy and to people's livelihoods.
official urged that the official name of the disease be changed. He
pointed to three different possibilities - a U.S. government decision
to refer to the disease as the H1N1 flu, the European Union's decision
to refer to it simply as a "novel flu," and the Paris-based World
Organization for Animal Health's reference to it as the "North American
The emerging H1N1 virus strain is a mixture of genetic material from other swine, bird and human flu strains.
Whatever is decided, Gao says the name should at least stop laying the blame solely on pigs.