Graphic: Timeline of global flu pandemics

By Reuters Staff
June 12, 2009

Comments

Could you please review your estimated mortality rate for Swine flu (H1N1). It is wrong to give the impression that the mortality rate is 5-6%.

In the right hands, with access to modern healthcare, the mortality rate is probably similar to normal seasonal flu or a little higher. Its very difficult to make true estimates of mortality as the disease is evolving but 5-6% is too high.

Having a mortality rate similar to normal seasonal flu is not a reason for countries to lower their guard though. This infection seems to have a “hospitalisation rate” of around 2% which is likely to put huge pressures on hospitals as they go into Autumn and Winter seasons.

Regards,
A Consultant Microbiologist

Posted by David Orr | Report as abusive
 

…and on that note, is the mortality rate of regular seasonal flu really *98%* for those over 65? I find that very hard to believe. But if this is really the case then I will certainly recommend that my parents have their annual flu jab from now on!
Regards,

Posted by Jenny | Report as abusive
 

According to the WHO, laboratory-confirmed cases of new influenza A(H1N1) as officially reported to WHO as of 17:00 GMT 15 June 2009 are:

35,928 Cases, 163 Deaths

…giving a Mortality Rate of 0.45%.

If the the Lab-confirmed cases are indicative of the spread and impact of infections to date, then the mortality rate of “5% to 6%” as reported in the graphic above is overly excessive (unless, ACTUAL deaths are a lot higher than REPORTED deaths).

Posted by John M | Report as abusive
 

The 5 to 6% in Mexico would be an initial number based on limited information in April. Currently, Mexico has reported 6241 cases with 108 deaths which is a rate of 1.7%. However, their testing is not as inclusive as the testing that is occuring in other countries, so it is very likely that there are many more cases. The actual rate is more than likely equivalent to the current global rate of 0.4% (167 deaths, 39620 cases). However, this number is greatly influenced by the Mexico numbers. The United States has the next highest number of identified cases. Their approximate rate is 0.2% (44 deaths, 17855 cases). Also keep in mind that these rates only account for identified cases. There are many more that have not been tested and are not included in the numbers.

Posted by Judy H | Report as abusive
 

How on earth do you have the mortality rate calculated for H1 N1? It is nowhere near as high as 5-6%. I think the chart is very misleading.

 

As to not repeat history, we must be wary of influenza and the characteristics
that it posses to survive. Even though this first wave seems innocuous as
it did during the 1918 pandemic, we cannot let our guard down.

Numbers, hospitalizations and current death rates do not encumber all aspects of
the seemingly mild influenza season, so that it is…

The next wave of the flu is what we should prepare for.

Posted by p emery | Report as abusive
 

This is the sort of irresponsible rubbish that is fuelling panic over the “flying pig” flu.

If the mortality rate was over 2% it would be a the most serious form of pandemic for which the WHO recommends draconian action such as closing national boarders.

In publishing this incorrect information, you are saying that “flying pig” flu is already much, much worse than 1918 Spanish flu!!!!!

As for a 98% mortality from seasonal flu for those over 65 what utter crap.

This whole affair is revealing how scientifically and mathematically challenged journalists actually are.

Posted by Mango Man | Report as abusive
 

We cant give all the blaim to the reporters, they only report what they are told. There is hardly any concrete investigative reporting these days due to time restraints. We all tend to lean on what is told is the supposedly truth, which is in many cases far from it. Look at how far this global warming issue has gone.
Although we all agree that the problem is real, no one truely understands its cause and direction..

Posted by Deep Dish | Report as abusive
 

There are less deaths from H1 N1 then from the ordinary flu
that goes around every year. It is anything but a pandemic. I am not sure why Who has called it a pandemic and it seem the rest of their numbers are off the charts as well. I have ever only had a flu shot once and after I was horribly sick. The only reason I decided to get it was I was working with a large group of people. I am sorry I did get the bloody thing. Other then that I have never had one and have never gotten the flu and if I did it was so mild one wouldn’t even have noticed. The most I have ever really had is a mild cold.

Posted by Willie | Report as abusive
 

Can you tell me where the H1N1 virus originated?

Thanks
Don Slinker

Posted by Don Slinker | Report as abusive
 

Everbody needs to back off with the “journalists are horrible” comments and look at the graphs again. The estimated rates are NOT actual rates. These are based upon the latest data and then projected, like any other probability. Also, I totally agree with Judy H. Remember, not every country in the world has a viable, working health surveillance system. It is guaranteed that there are more cases out there that we don’t know about. Always. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a HIGHER mortality rate in certain populations.
Also, p emery is absolutely correct. We haven’t seen the full impact of this current outbreak yet.

Posted by Erin Bann | Report as abusive
 

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