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Thursday, May 6, 2010

WHO panel offers clinical profile of H1N1


" A panel of experts assembled by the World Health Organization (WHO) has published a clinical profile of pandemic H1N1 influenza, using data from scores of studies to fill in details of the broad picture that has emerged over the past year.

The report, released today by the New England Journal of Medicine, affirms that the disease has taken its heaviest toll on young adults and children but otherwise generally resembles seasonal flu.

The international team of 15 authors writes that the overall estimated case-fatality rate (CFR) has been less than 0.5%, with estimates ranging all the way from 0.0004% to 1.47%, reflecting uncertainty about the true number of cases.

The US CFR has been estimated at 0.048%, a bit higher than the United Kingdom's estimate of 0.026%.

About 90% of those who have died of the virus were younger than 65, while hospitalization rates have been highest in children under 5 years old and lowest in the elderly, the report notes.

The virus seems to be about as contagious as seasonal flu or slightly more so, with estimates of the basic reproduction number (the number of secondary cases caused by the primary case in a susceptible population) ranging from 1.3 to 1.7. But in school outbreaks the number may be about twice as high: 3.0 to 3.6. "

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