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Half of US population may get swine flu
Americans. At the same time, CDC claims 36 000 Americans annually die from flu.
What is going on?
Meanwhile, according to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS),
"influenza and pneumonia" took 62 034 lives in 2001—61 777 of which were
attributed to pneumonia and 257 to flu, and in only 18 cases was flu virus positively
identified. Between 1979 and 2002, NCHS data show an average 1348 flu deaths per
year (range 257 to 3006).
CDC's model calculated an average annual 36 155 deaths from influenza associated
underlying respiratory and circulatory causes (JAMA 2003;289: 179-86
[Abstract/Free Full Text]). Less than a quarter of these (8097) were described as flu
or flu associated underlying pneumonia deaths. Thus the much publicised figure of
36 000 is not an estimate of yearly flu deaths, as widely reported in both the lay and
scientific press, but an estimate—generated by a model—of flu-associated death.
William Thompson of the CDC's National Immunization Program (NIP), and lead
author of the CDC's 2003 JAMA article, explained that "influenza-associated
mortality" is "a statistical association between deaths and viral data available." He
said that an association does not imply an underlying cause of death: "Based on
modelling, we think it's associated. I don't know that we would say that it's the
underlying cause of death."
Yet this stance is incompatible with the CDC assertion that the flu kills 36 000
people a year—a misrepresentation that is yet to be publicly corrected.