- A new strain of flu -
believed to have started in pigs
- could kill millions, experts warned
- An international team of scientists are focusing on the
type of Hong Kong flu.
- Alarm bells sounded after a 10-month-old girl was
to the city's Tuen Mun hospital in September.
- Although she
recovered, the virus bore the molecular
hallmarks of a known pig
- Pigs were thought to have started the 1918 Spanish flu
outbreak, which lead to the deaths of an estimated 20million people around
- Alan Hay, of the World Health Organisation's influenza
collaborating centre at the National Institute for Medical Research in
London, said: "We're monitoring the case very carefully.
- "It's at quite a
- Most influenza strains are variants of known viruses
that can be controlled with readily available vaccines.
- But every few decades
a radically different type appears.
- Virologists at the US Centers
for Disease Control and
Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, are helping the
WHO team study samples
of the virus taken from the girl.
- The last major
outbreaks occurred in 1957 and 1968.
- Two years ago Hong Kong was the
centre of an influenza
scare when a strain of the virus that normally
affects chickens struck
18 people and killed six.