It’s not going awaa-ay….

Fro ProMED Mail today:

To summarize the current situation, as of 6:00 AM GMT on 18 May 2009 there have been a total of 8829 cases and 74 deaths of influenza A (H1N1) infection officially reported to WHO coming from 40 countries, up from 8480 confirmed cases and 72 deaths from 39 countries yesterday (17 May 2009). Chile is the new country confirming cases through the WHO summary report. As of 18:00 GMT-4, there have been a total of 9372 cases and 79 deaths reported worldwide, with 14 countries in the Americas reporting cases. According to newswires, there has been the 1st confirmed case in Greece with a history of travel to the USA prior to onset. Newswires continue to demonstrate significant increases in confirmed cases in Japan during the past 24 hours.The USA has officially reported 5123 laboratory confirmed cases coming from 48 states (compared with 4714 cases from 47 states on 15 May 2009), and 5 deaths (all in individuals with pre-existing illnesses). Canada has reported 496 cases from 10 provinces with 1 death in an individual with pre-existing illness, unchanged from the 496 cases and one death reported from 10 provinces/territories on 15 May 2009.

For a map of reported confirmed cases, worldwide, as of 06:00 GMT 18 May 2009, see here” 
– Mod.MPP

So it is NOT going away…and has a case fatality rate, from these numbers, of 0.84%.  This is significantly higher than the ~0.2% quoted for annual flu epidemics – which, if they kill ~400 000 people per annum, must infect ~200 million people.

Meaning if this flu infects the same number of people, >1.6 million people may die, over and ABOVE the normal toll.

3 Responses to “It’s not going awaa-ay….”

  1. Dorian McILROY Says:

    Yes, but most of the deaths occurred in Mexico, and I’m not convinced that all the infections that occurred there early in the outbreak have been identified. It may be that only the people who got really ill went to the doctor, and were screened for H1N1 swine flu. The real number of people infected could be much higher, in which case the high case fatality could be misleading.

    Case fatality has been much lower in all the other countries with more than 100 cases. Since these are all rich countries (USA, Canada, Spain, UK and now, Japan) it’s difficult to know whether the better survival rate is due to better medical care available for all the people infected with the virus.

    Surprised to hear that seasonal flu has such a high fatality rate though. Is that all ages, or restricted to vulnerable age groups?


  2. It’s Not Going Awaaa-ay, contd. « ViroBlogy Says:

    […] is 0.7% – compared to the accepted figure of 0.2% for normal flu.  Not much different to the previous figure I calculated just 9 days ago – and it’s still spreading.  4000 more cases in that […]

  3. Ed Rybicki Says:

    Seasonal flu kills ~400 000 people a year. If the case fatality rate is 0.2%…that is 200 million people infected. Mainly elderly, and very young – for the classic “U” shaped age or mortality distribution curve. Which, of course, this H1N1 Mexico flu might not be following, if young adults are dying…?

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