Two Chinese women die from H1N1 flu in Beijing

H1N1, a swine flu virus, caused a 2009 global pandemic that killed thousands.

BEIJING — Two Chinese women have died from the H1N1 flu strain in Beijing in the past 10 days, Chinese state media said Sunday, the first reported deaths from the virus in China's capital since 2010.

A 65-year-old cancer patient died Friday and a 22-year-old migrant worker died Dec. 27, the Beijing Daily said on its website, citing the city's Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flu cases in Beijing are at their highest level in five years, and the H1N1 strain has become the most dominant, the center's director Deng Ying said.

The rise in cases corresponds with weeks of record low temperatures in Beijing and across much of China.

H1N1 is a swine flu virus responsible for a pandemic that broke out in 2009, starting in the United States and Mexico and spreading around the world in six weeks.

Initial World Health Organization estimates put the number of deaths from that global outbreak at around 18,500, but a study published last June said the death toll was likely to have been between 284,500 and 579,000 people.

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