WHO: One In Five Dying Of H7N9 Flu

One in Five Dying of H7N9 Flu (MedPage, May 3, 2013):

The mortality rate in the H7N9 avian influenza outbreak has reached 20%, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.

With 128 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection as of May 2, there have also been 26 deaths, or 20.3%. At the same time, 26 people have recovered from the novel illness, according to the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The cases are going up daily – about 20% have died, 20% have recovered and the rest are still sick,” commented John McCauley, PhD, director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Influenza in the United Kingdom.

“The WHO considers this a serious threat,” McCauley told the Guardian newspaper. “We’re on an alert and we’re developing diagnostics and vaccines specifically against the virus.”

While the mortality is high, it is, so far, lower than that seen in cases of infection with the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu, which approaches 50%. As of April 26, the WHO is reporting a total of 628 laboratory-confirmed cases of H5N1 in humans, with 374 deaths.

The highly pathogenic H5N1 flu causes severe illness in both birds and people, but is easily transmitted only among fowl.

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