New swine flu research: less deadly than previously thought

New research suggests that the current estimate of a 0.4% fatality rate for swine flu may be inaccurate.  The paper, published by Dr Nick Wilson and Assoc. Prof. Michael Baker of the University of Otago, used four different methods for estimating the plausible range of H1N1 fatalities in developed countries – an important measure for accurate reponse efforts .

Drop in implied fatality rate as more data collected

The previous rate of 0.4% was drawn from Mexico, but the Otago research suggests it could be far lower: between 0.0004% and 0.06%.  For a country with a population of 3 million, for example, and a final infection of 30% of the population, this means deaths could range from between 4 to 546.

The researchers pointed out that further collection of swine flu data could improve fatality estimates, which are still very approximate.

News coverage:

Otago Daily Times: Swine flu less deadly than first thought

Radio New Zealand: Swine Flu

Bloomberg: Swine Flu May Be Less Lethal Than Earlier Estimated, Study Says

Graph from ‘Swine Flu in Australia’