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More accurate ways of measuring mortality from swine flu are needed to help health officials to make the right decisions about managing the pandemic, scientists said yesterday.
Standard methods of calculating death and hospital admission rates for the influenza A (H1N1) virus are unreliable and can both underestimate and overestimate the true figures, according to research at Imperial College, London.
One of the key measures of the virulence of any disease is its case fatality rate (CFR), which is generally calculated by dividing the total number of known cases by the total number of deaths. A good estimate of the CFR for swine flu, and of its hospital admission rate, is needed to help healthcare planners to decide on appropriate measures for containing infection, such as school closures, and on vaccination strategies.
Any changes in the mortality rate must also be monitored closely to determine whether the virus is mutating to become more virulent, which may require policy changes.
A 55-year-old man that Health Department officials first said had died of a chronic medical condition weeks ago at Florida Hospital DeLand has been added to the official list of Florida swine flu deaths.
The man's undisclosed chronic condition had hospitalized him for weeks before his diagnosis with the swine flu. The state looked at the case and "recently" decided to add him to the official count, according to Stefany Strong, spokeswoman for the Volusia County Health Department.
The death was not immediately classified as being the result of swine flu because the physician in attendance didn't believe it caused the man's death, according to Florida Department of Health spokeswoman.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - After announcing the state's first reported swine flu death today, health officials said another victim of the flu strain is hospitalized in critical condition.
The name of the person in critical condition was not released.
The death of a Custer County woman in her 50s occurred late last week at a time when Nebraska swine flu cases are rising.
Health officials said the virus is being spread within the state instead of being brought in by residents who've traveled outside of Nebraska and contracted it.
Dr. Joann Schaefer, the state's chief medical officer, said that is a cause for concern.
There have been 264 reported cases of swine flu in Nebraska. Schaefer urged residents who think they have the flu to not have contact with others.
A young child in the Fraser Health Region has become the first person in B.C. confirmed to have died from the H1N1 influenza virus.
The unidentified child, who had underlying medical conditions increasing the risk from influenza, was admitted to hospital on Sunday and died within 24 hours.
A young woman in the Fraser Health Region who was living with a person infected with H1N1 has also died. She also had an underlying medical condition, and had not been confirmed as infected when she was admitted to hospital last Wednesday.
“These severe outcomes of the pandemic are a reminder that influenza is not to be trivialized,” said Dr. Danuta Skowronski, epidemiologist at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Australia is facing a swine flu death toll of 6,000 under a worst-case scenario, federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says.
Ms Roxon's admission comes a day after she dismissed as "ludicrous" a prediction the toll could reach 10,000.
The worst-case scenario is based on no medical intervention, including antiviral treatment for people contracting the virus, and vaccines.
"We could expect around 6,000 deaths across the country," Ms Roxon told ABC Radio.
"That's really the worst-case scenario."
Ms Roxon said higher death estimates, drawn from a 2005 interim influenza pandemic action plan, were not applicable for the influenza A(H1N1) virus.
The plan estimated there would be 12,500 deaths from a pandemic with a 30 per cent infection rate.
That estimate was based on a "more severe flu", Ms Roxon said, adding that swine flu could be a severe disease for some people.
Swine flu has emerged as the dominant flu in Australia this winter with 10,387 confirmed cases.
The death toll has reached 23 with another death in the Northern Territory, and a further 58 people with the virus are in intensive care units in hospital.
Ms Roxon said hospitals had plans in place to cope with the numbers.
BALTIMORE (WJZ) The Maryland Department of Health confirms another death in the state from the H1N1 virus.
They will only confirm it was an adult who lived on the Eastern Shore.
The person actually died in June but the state was only able to confirm it was from H1N1 this week.
It is the third H1N1 death in the state.
A YOUNG mother has died from swine flu in a Brisbane hospital, the first Queenslander to succumb to the virus which has infected 10,300 Australians.
The woman, 38, died in the Mater Public Hospital yesterday after being admitted a week ago.
She is believed to have been at increased risk of complications from the new H1N1 flu strain because of her obesity.
The woman, one of more than 2700 Queenslanders who have been diagnosed with swine flu, is the 22nd Australian to have died after contracting the highly contagious virus.
Last night, six Queenslanders with swine flu were in hospital intensive care units and health authorities were awaiting the results of tests on another 17 ICU patients suspected of having H1N1.
Queensland's Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young, said people particularly vulnerable to developing complications from swine flu included the obese, indigenous Australians, pregnant women, diabetics and those with respiratory conditions, heart problems, and renal and liver disease.
METRO VANCOUVER — A seven-year-old child from the Fraser Health region has died of the H1N1 influenza virus, the B.C. government announced Tuesday. It was the first confirmed death in B.C. resulting from the swine flu pandemic.
Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall said a 20-year-old woman likely also died from H1N1 in an unrelated case. The woman was admitted to hospital in the Fraser Health region last Wednesday, and died Thursday.
The seven-year-old was admitted to hospital on Sunday and died within 24 hours of being admitted.
Wildlife officials are looking into the mysterious deaths of fish and
birds at Nashville's Centennial Park on Sunday [12 Jul 2009]. Park
police said they found at least 25 geese and ducks that were either
dead or dying at a park pond. Also, hundreds of fish were found dead.
It is unclear what caused the animals to suddenly die, but tests are
being done on the animals.
Metro [city] workers said they have seen natural deaths at the park in
the past but never to this degree.
How does she expect it to compare to other pandemics? "In terms of the number of countries affected and the number of people infected, this has got to be the biggest."
Bigger than 1918? "If you're talking about mortality then it's different. 1918 is the biggest in terms of mortality. I would not like to make any predictions . . . I hope we don't see the 1918 picture. But we should expect to see more people infected, and more severe cases coming up, including deaths."
A second person with swine flu has died in South Australia.
The 32-year-old man was admitted to Modbury Hospital last week.
He had other chronic illnesses and was transferred to the Lyell McEwin Hospital where he died on Wednesday.
Paddy Phillips from the Health Department says believes he is the first South Australian to die with the virus.
"Although we've now had two people die with swine flu, swine flu remains a mild illness in the vast majority of people," he said.
There have been 1,162 swine flu cases in the state.
Twelve people are currently being treated in hospital, including one in intensive care.