US Officials: Swine Flu Less Deadly than First Feared

U.S. health officials are expressing cautious optimism the virus causing swine flu A-H1N1 may not be as virulent as initially feared, but they say aggressive steps to combat the infectious disease are still warranted.

美國健康部門官員對於引發新型流感的A-H1N1病毒性未如想像中嚴重,表示謹慎樂觀,但指出積極性的防堵傳染措施仍有實施的正當性。


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US Officials: Swine Flu Less Deadly than First Feared

By Michael Bowman
Washington
03 May 2009

Listen to the report

 

U.S. health officials are expressing cautious optimism the virus causing swine flu A-H1N1 may not be as virulent as initially feared, but they say aggressive steps to combat the infectious disease are still warranted.

Days after Mexico suspended public activities to reduce the spread of swine flu, the country is reporting a leveling off in the rate of new infections. In the United States, the number of confirmed influenza cases continues to rise, but most flu sufferers report relatively mild symptoms, and only one death has been recorded.

This is welcome news for U.S. health officials, who initially had to consider the possibility that the new flu strain's impact could mirror the devastation of the 1918 influenza pandemic that led to tens of millions of deaths worldwide.

The acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Richard Besser, spoke on ABC's "This Week" program.

"What we have found is that we are not seeing the factors that were associated with the 1918 pandemic. We are not seeing the factors that were associated with other H1N1 viruses," Besser said.

But, he adds, "I do not think it is time to let our guard down. I think we have to continue in an uncertain situation to be aggressive."

U.S. officials worry that, even if the virus' spread is eventually contained, it could re-emerge months from now during the northern hemisphere's winter flu season, when more than 30,000 Americans die each year from common influenza.

The Obama administration says it is laying the groundwork to develop a vaccine against swine flu, although no decision has been made on large-scale production of such a vaccine. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also appeared on "This Week".

"We can accelerate the seasonal flu vaccine, which we are doing right now to be prepared for what we know will hit this fall and winter. At the same time, we are in the stages of growing the [swine flu] virus, testing it, and we can be ready to do both [vaccines] simultaneously," Sebelius said.

In the meantime, the Obama administration is urging common-sense steps to prevent the spread of swine flu, including frequent hand-washing and asking flu sufferers to stay at home.

Some critics have accused the administration of overstating the dangers of swine flu and unnecessarily alarming the public. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano dismisses the charge.

"We had a new strain of flu. We did not really know that its lethality was going to be. We did not know how quickly it was going to move. Once you get behind [the spread of] flu, you cannot catch up. You have to get ahead of it," said Napolitano.

In an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Napolitano again defended the administration's decision against closing the U.S. border with Mexico, saying it would incur massive economic costs with no meaningful health benefits, since swine flu is already spreading in the United States.

 

Vocabulary

aggressive (a) 侵略性的;急進的

warrant (v) 提供有正當理由;使其有必要性

devastation (n) 破壞;蹂躪

pandemic (n) (大型)流行性疾病

contain (v) 控制,遏制

accelerate (v) 加速

simultaneously (adv) 同時地

lethality (n) 致命性;毀壞性

 

Words and Phrases in Use

to express cautious optimism 表達審慎的樂觀

At this preliminary stage of negotiations, we could only express cautious optimism about the outcome.
在目前初期的談判階段,我們對於結果只能表達審慎的樂觀而已。

the number of . . . continues to rise數量繼續攀升中

The number of robberies at knifepoint continues to rise in this area.
持刀搶劫的案件在這區域裡仍持續上升。

welcome news 好消息

news 是不可數名詞

His final decision to drop the charge is welcome news to our company.
他最後決定撤銷告訴對我們公司真是個好消息。

to let the guard down 放下防衛;鬆懈

It’s still too early to let our guard down in seeing a slight decline in the number of confirmed swine flu cases.
新型流感的確定病例數字雖然有些微下降,但現在感到鬆懈還太早。

to lay the groundwork (for) 埋下基礎;未 . . . 做好準備

We are meeting here today to lay the groundwork for what is to come.
我們今天在此會面,是為了日後所將面臨的局面做好準備。

to dismiss the charge 駁斥指控;(法律用語)罪名不成立

She wants to dismiss the charge of her being an irresponsible mother by displaying all the gifts she has bought her children in the past.
她展示出所有過去幫小孩子買的玩具,想要駁斥對於她是一個失職母親的指控。

to defend the decision 為某個決定護航;捍衛某個決定

I won’t even try to defend my decision. I am simply not in the mood for any teamwork.
我不會試著替我的決定辯解什麼。我現在就是沒有發揮任何團體精神的心情。

to incur massive economic costs 帶來(招致)巨大的經濟損失

The government’s decision to levy luxury tax is believed to incur massive economic costs.
政府課徵奢侈稅的決定一般相信會帶來巨大的經濟損失。

 

Source

http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-05-03-voa10.cfm

 
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