A Cathay Pacific flight attendant has died of malaria after two doctors from Hong Kong's biggest medical practice allegedly failed to diagnose the disease. Akiko Chinen, 32, mother of a one-year-old girl, died of cerebral malaria at the Canossa Hospital in Mid-Levels on Friday, three days after being admitted semi-comatose and delirious. Dr John Simon, who admitted her to the Canossa, said: 'When she came in to hospital she had a 30 per cent parasitaemia - that means three out of every 10 red blood cells contained the malaria parasite. This is huge and your chance of dying with that degree of parasitaemia is very high.' Chinen was put on anti-malarial treatment in the intensive care unit when cerebral malaria was diagnosed 10 minutes after admission. She suffered a heart attack the next day but was resuscitated, although she never regained consciousness, Dr Simon said, adding it was the first fatal case of malaria he had dealt with in Hong Kong. Chinen had stayed overnight with a friend at a game reserve in South Africa after a working flight to Johannesburg at the end of last month, Dr Simon said. She was seen by two private doctors at clinics run by Quality HealthCare, a Hang Seng-listed company, five days and one day before she was admitted to hospital, said Dr Simon, whose Central Medical Practice is also part of Quality HealthCare. Chinen's family had said she was prescribed amoxycillin, an antibiotic. 'She did not think it would work and she would have been right,' Dr Simon said. 'A doctor must ask in cases where there is fever and there's no obvious features to the fever, where have you been? . . . And then you don't die because [the doctor] can diagnose it early.' Quality HealthCare's medical director, Dr Frank Innes, refused to say whether the victim had been properly diagnosed by his firm's two doctors. 'I'd rather not comment on that because this case will probably go to the coroner's court,' he said. Dr Thomas Lai Sik-to, president of the Hong Kong Society for Infectious Diseases, said cerebral malaria was usually caused by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which carries the most serious form of the disease. Dr Lai, head of the infectious disease unit at Princess Margaret Hospital, said doctors should be alert to the possibility of mosquito-borne diseases, especially amid the campaign against dengue fever. The chairwoman of the Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants' Union, Becky Kwan Siu-wa, said her members wanted to determine if negligence had been a factor. The union would raise the case with the airline and suggest health lectures for crews, she said. Cathay spokeswoman, Rosita Ng Lai-ting, said the airline had put a condolence book and a collection box for the woman's family in the cabin crew lounge.