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Expert Warns Possible Small-range Outbreak of Flu

A noted influenza expert is warning of a possible small-range outbreak of flu in China in this coming winter and early spring next year.

Prof. Guo Yuanji, of the China Disease Prevention and Control Center, said on Thursday that many signs indicated an active flu virus this year, but he ruled out the possibility of avian influenza, or "bird flu".

In spring this year, cases of the influenza A-3 virus rose sharply and a new variant developed. Since the year 2000, the flu situation has been stable. As a general rule, however, there was apeak outbreak of flu after several stable years, said Guo.

A medical survey across the country showed most people examinedhad the antibody of the virus, Guo said, and generally, when 70 percent of a population had an antibody, the virus was likely to mutate.

He acknowledged that many people mistook mycoplasmal infection for the flu. In recent years, he said, the beginning of November saw an increase in cases of mycoplasmal infection in Beijing, but usually flu cases emerged at the end of November.

(People's Daily July 10, 2003)

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