China on Tuesday announced its first swine flu death, saying a patient in its southwestern region of Tibet had died from the disease, as concern rises about a winter outbreak.
State-run Xinhua news agency said in a report from the Tibetan regional capital Lhasa that the victim was an 18-year-old woman.
AdvertisementA brief notice on the website of the health ministry earlier also said a person had died of the influenza A(H1N1) on Sunday, giving no details on the case or the patient.
"An influenza A(H1N1) sufferer in the region died after efforts to save the sufferer failed," it said.
"This is our first domestic report of a swine flu death."
China, hit hard in the past by bird flu and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), took immediate measures to prevent the new virus from entering the country when it was first uncovered in the Americas.
But the health ministry warned last month that tens of millions of people in the world's most populous country could get the virus during the winter flu season and said fatalities would be "unavoidable".
The ministry also said Tuesday China had so far seen a total of 21,453 reported cases since swine flu first emerged, including 13 people in serious condition.
China began mass vaccinations against swine flu last month, making it one of the first nations to start inoculating its population against the virus.
Several Chinese companies have already received government approval for their vaccines.