China added to list of countries at ‘very high’ risk for pandemic flu

China is now included in a list of “very high” risk areas for the devastating flu bug called pandemic flu, with the government monitoring for new cases.

China’s cabinet, the State Council, reported that the world’s most populous country is now able to track cases of new influenza A (H1N1) infections more precisely because it has been able to connect key physical characteristics of this year’s H7N9 strain to the 2018-19 H1N1 flu strain.

As a result, it was the reason why the World Health Organization upgraded the number of countries at “very high” risk for the H1N1 flu strain to 16 on Thursday. China is now included in that list. While this news has caused alarm in northern China, with panic-stricken doctors and patients descending on main public hospitals and emergency room, many health officials in Beijing and Guangzhou believe there are no big health concerns arising, CNN reported.

China is not the only country currently monitoring for new flu cases. According to Xinhua, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also monitoring for such cases in 15 other countries, with most of those being in Africa.

Other countries are also preparing for the likelihood of a flu pandemic. The CDC has stated that if the flu outbreak does happen, the U.S. is relatively prepared because of its standing vaccine stockpile of 40 million doses. But, if the outbreak does get to “high” risk, an influenza pandemic would have a profound impact on the global economy and likely lead to the loss of more than a million lives.

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