Influenza Virus Mashup

Influenza Virus Mashup

[Avian Flu Diary] Declan Butler On the CFR Of H5N1

Posted by Automator On February - 14 - 2012

(Mon, 13 Feb 2012 19:00:00 +0000)

 

influenza virus

# 6141

 

 

Declan Butler, who is a senior reporter Nature.com, was one of the first journalists to call attention to the H5N1 virus.  He holds a degree in biology from Queen’s University, Belfast, has a PhD from the University of Leeds, and writes on a variety of scientific topics.

 

The CFR (Case Fatality Ratio) of the H5N1 virus – which hovers around 60% of known cases – has been the subject of considerable discussion over the years, and is currently front and center in the recent debate over H5N1 research in ferrets.

 

Some scientists maintain that a great many `mild’ cases go undetected, and that the true CFR is far lower (perhaps `orders of magnitude lower’) than the official numbers would indicate (see Vincent Racaniello’s argument Should we fear avian H5N1 influenza?). 

 

As we saw in a CIDRAP article last week by Robert Roos (Undetected H5N1 cases seem few, but questions persist), not everyone buys into that theory.

 

Today Declan Butler talks to a number of experts (including Malik Peiris and Jeremy Farrar), who say they’ve not found much evidence to support a claim that we are missing a lot of `mild’ cases.

 

While the true CFR may be far lower than 59%, many experts believe this virus is fully capable of producing a pandemic that could far exceed what we saw with the 1918 Spanish Flu.

 

Very much worth reading, so follow the link to:

 

 Nature | News

Death-rate row blurs mutant flu debate

Even if a 59% mortality rate for H5N1 is too high, the virus could still cause a flu pandemic more serious than that of 1918.

Declan Butler

13 February 2012

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