Flu Case Confirmed in Hong Kong

May 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Asia has its confirmed first case of the H1N1 flu in Hong Kong.The number of flu cases has climbed to over 100 in the U.S. and hundreds of schools are closed across the country. The federal government is rushing the production of a vaccine against the H1N1 strain but so far, this outbreak is no worse than the seasonal flu.

Struggling for answers, health experts are trying to get a handle on the so called swine flu, or the H1N1 virus. Some new clues are coming to light which show it may not be as bad as once anticipated.

"The virus lacks an essential amino acid important in the replication of the virus itself. That may explain why the virus is not spreading as wide and as fast as we would think it would," said Dr. Carlos Del Rio, professor of global health.

While there's heightened concern over the spread of this new virus worldwide; relatively speaking, the H1N1 virus is not as deadly as the causes of common seasonal flu, which kill more than 30,000 people in the states each year.

Still officials are doling out anti-viral medication across the country to treat people in need. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, "Additional resources will be made available additional opportunities will be there to reach out to state and local partners we are both aggressively trying to contain and stop the spread of this influenza."

Thursday Vice President Joe Biden was criticized for saying he would advise family members not to fly or even take the subway. Critics claim his tone was too alarmist. Other administration officials like the transportation secretary tried to clarify matters. "My message, really, is that it is safe to fly. There is no reason to cancel flights," said Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood.

There is concern a member of the administration who went to Mexico in advance of the president's trip last month may have caught the virus, he has since recovered but officials are still awaiting test results and reiterate the president's health was never at risk.

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