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January 10, 2006

Bird Flu Cases 'Under-estimated'

Topics: Health Issues

An interesting (but not conclusive - blood samples weren't taken) Swedish study being reported in The Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that the number of cases of bird flu in humans may have been hugely under-reported, and that clearly, the incidence of the virus in humans was much higher than had been recognized.

However, there's a bit of good news in the report, since the results suggest "that the symptoms most often are relatively mild and that close contact is needed for transmission to humans."

What's the take home message here? As we've suggested in previous posts, the incidence of human cases involving the H5N1 virus is likely to be much higher than has been (and is being) reported, that close contact is needed for transmission to humans, that indeed the virus has transformed in some locations and that human to human transmission has occurred, that some patients may experience mild symptoms while others die, and that the world still has a potential pandemic on its hands.

And by the way - Tamiflu isn't going to be much help.

Related: Bird Flu In Depth

Posted by Richard at January 10, 2006 7:21 AM

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