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 .
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.
Radio New Zealand: Swine Flu
Graph from ‘Swine Flu in Australia’