A recent study shows that the current burgeoning and yet reportedly "mild" novel influenza bug is right on par to develop into a situation that resembles the 1957 "Asian Flu" pandemic that killed 2 million people. I find this interesting because, not only does it fly in the face of those who have shrugged-off even the most conservative levels of awareness about the severity of this disease, it also reinforces a statement I made previously here on the blog regarding the flu's severity: in response to the WHO's announcement that "it was 'reasonable' to estimate that a third of the world’s population would catch the swine flu virus..." (source), I stated that even at the extremely low 0.12% estimated Case-Fatality-Ratio of "normal" everyday seasonal flu viruses, that a third of the the world catching it "represents 2,680,000 deaths."
It goes on to say that, were it to continue to develop into a "moderate" pandemic such as the one in 1957, it "could kill 14.2 million people and shave 2 percent from the global economy in the first year."
Also, the WHO has now openly joined the myriad group of scientists who fear that H1N1 Influenza A could mutate into something more deadly.
And, when I first read the following, my first instinct was to file it away as a conspiracy theory, but it's actually real and being investigating by WHO officials: Swine Flu May Be The Result of Human Error. Apparently, one of the scientists who helped develop Tamiflu "intends to publish a report suggesting the new strain may have accidentally evolved in eggs scientists use to grow viruses and drugmakers use to make vaccines. Gibbs said he came to his conclusion as part of an effort to trace the virus’s origins by analyzing its genetic blueprint.
'One of the simplest explanations is that it’s a laboratory escape,' Gibbs said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. 'But there are lots of others.'"
Laboratory confirmed cases rose again today to 6,720 (up from 5,561 the day before yesterday - 1,786 just eight short days ago) and fatalities now number 65. One hundred additional deaths are still listed as "suspected," but are yet to be officially confirmed. The number of suspected cases fell very slightly to 1,018 with those considered "probable" also falling slightly to 419 . The official WHO numbers don't coincide with these exactly, but I've been using these totals instead because they include cases that have been excluded from the official WHO numbers for various reasons, such as those that were self-reported by some states. (source)