Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Swine Flu 100 times more lethal than Common flu

Directly lethal means without any comparison with health care.

This is due to ARDS which will make a person be kept in ICU for 3
weeks and only 1 in 2 will survive.

Cases of ARDS among Swine Flu is 1 in 10,000 which is 100 times more
than normal flu.

Malaysia that has a population of 25 million may have 2500 cases of
ARDS if they are not treated early with Tamilflu. Fortunately Tamilflu
is now provided free of charge.


Swine virus more directly lethal than seasonal flu: scientist

By Marlowe Hood (AFP) – 6 hours ago

PARIS — People who die after getting swine flu are up to 100 times
more likely, compared to seasonal flu, to have been killed by the
virus itself rather than secondary causes, a top French researcher
said Monday.

The findings -- published on a research-sharing platform, PLoS
Currents: Influenza, vetted by flu experts -- could help health
officials manage critical care resources if infection rates climb in
the Northern Hemisphere's autumn and winter.

It could also provide important clues as to the new swine flu's
potential virulence, said author Antoine Flahault, a leading
epidemiologist and director of France's School for Advanced Studies in
Public Health.

"The direct lethality due to viral pneumonia probably gives the best
estimate of an influenza strain's virulence, since it may vary from
strain to strain and is not due to a country's level of health
development," he said.

With regular seasonal flu, which claims up to 500,000 lives each year
worldwide, most deaths are attributed either to secondary bacterial
infections such as pneumonia, or pre-existing chronic conditions that
boost vulnerability.

Only about one-in-a-million infections result in death due to a rare
condition known as acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS).

"ARDS is frighteningly lethal -- it is like drowning," Flahault told
AFP by phone. The condition requires intensive-care treatment for an
average of thee weeks. "Statistically, only one in two patients

The risk factors for ADRS are poorly understood, though recent studies
in the United States suggest that, among people infected with swine
flu, pregnant women and the very obese are particularly at risk.

Both seasonal influenza and the new A(H1N1) virus that has swept the
globe since May appear to have roughly the same mortality rate of one-
to-five per 1,000 infections, though figures for the swine flu remain
very sketchy.

Experts also caution that the pandemic flu could become more lethal as
it continues to mutate.

But preliminary analysis of infection and mortality statistics from
the French territory of New Caledonia and the Indian Ocean island
nation of Mauritius suggest that the new A(H1N1) virus directly caused
an ARDS fatality for every 10,000 cases, Flahault told AFP.

In New Caledonia, local health authorities have reported 30,000
infections and two deaths attributed directly to the pandemic virus.

Flahault said that some 70,000 persons have been infected in
Mauritius, with seven reported deaths from ARDS, five of them

"These surveillance data allow for a first estimate of direct
lethality due to H1N1 of one-per-10,000 infections, about 100 times
more than regular seasonal flu," he said.

Flahault cautioned that these are only "preliminary and rough
estimates," and acknowledged that his findings -- based on a limited
number of cases on two isolated islands -- may not extend to much
larger, continental countries.

"But we have a terrible lack of data," he said.

"It may be useful to deliver such estimates ... as early as possible
so health authorities can check availability of intensive care units
and artificial ventilation devices in case of a wave of similar
virulence this autumn in the northern hemisphere," he said.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

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