Elderly woman latest victim of swine flu in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government has reported that an elderly woman has contracted the pig-borne bacterial disease that has killed nearly 40 people in mainland China.

Apparently the latest victim, who is 79, was admitted to hospital last Thursday and is now in critical condition.

The woman, reportedly had not travelled outside of Hong Kong recently and brings the number to be infected with Streptococcus suis bacteria in Hong Kong since the outbreak in China was first reported in June to 5.

This is the tenth reported case of the disease in the city this year.

The report of the new infection will add to growing concern that the disease has spread from the southwestern province of Sichuan into other parts of China.

Most of Hong Kong's food is supplied by mainland China.

This latest news follows the recent co-operation by the Ministry of Health of China with the World Health Organisation (WHO) , which has seen a sharing of more details about the outbreak of swine flu in China where there have been 215 reported cases of the human disease; 39 of these have been fatal.

No new cases have been reported since 5 August.

A group of international specialists on Streptococcus suis, which included WHO technical staff, have recently been working with the Chinese authorities and the specialist team agreed that the movements of live pigs, and the trade of pig carcasses and meat within and from the outbreak area, had to be carefully regulated and monitored, in order to prevent the possible national and international spread of the outbreak.

This latest food scare comes soon after a Hong Kong government warning was issued against eating Chinese eels after finding they contained a cancer-causing chemical, and experts are reportedly now checking fish for the chemical.

Hong Kong is also in a state of high alert for a deadly strain of bird flu that has hit southeast Asia and part of China, Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan.

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