The director and deputy director of a hospital where patients became infected with the HIV virus have been suspended, state news agency Xinhua has reported.

According to local media reports, the virus was spread from a patient who was already HIV positive through the reusing of medical feeding tubes.

Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Hangzhou, eastern China is at the heart of the controversy.

Staff at the hospital have been accused of violating medical procedures.

Local media report the Health and Family Planning Commission in Zhejiang Province said it was informed of the situation on Jan. 26. A number of patients were tested and five were later diagnosed with HIV.

The commission said the staff responsible had been detained by the security forces.

According to the Avert HIV/AIDS information site, in China “national negligence [was] a critical factor in the spread of HIV in the early 1990s”.

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