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H1N1 Mortality Rate Lower Than First Predicted

17 Sep 09

As H1N1 figures continue to fall before an inevitable resurgence over the Autumn and Winter months, the virus' mortality rate now seems more in line with that of seasonal flu and considerably lower than first imagined. According to Dr Marc Lipsitch of Harvard University, H1N1 likely has a death rate of between 0.007 and 0.045 percent. Similar to that of seasonal flu and notably lower than the estimate of 0.4% that was produced by the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance last month. "Barring any changes in the virus, I think we can say we are in a category 1 pandemic. This has not become clear until fairly recently", he said. Lipsitch's methodology is based on a fresh assessment of: reported cases of H1N1, against hospitalisations and actual mortalities.

This new correlation of figures offers both a more promising outlook on the long-term implications of the virus, as well as a fresh outlook on some of the most common forecasts to date. Specifically, Mr. Lipsitch's analysis points out that while children and young people have so far been considered the 'at risk' demographic, the age group is considerably less at risk of H1N1 than seniors are the seasonal flu. "It's mildest in kids. That's one of the really good pieces of news in this pandemic", he said, adding that "The news is certainly better than it was in May and even better than it was at the beginning of August".

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