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pediatric deaths in the states due to seasonal flu

(6 Posts)
OhYouBadBadDailyMail Fri 14-Aug-09 09:23:50

I was idly wondering this morning what actual mortality figures are for seasonal flu because the ones we see in the news tend to be big scary headlines yet personally I don't know anyone who has died from flu.

Hard to get figures but I did find information on confirmed pediatric deaths in the States. in each season summary Its my understanding that from 2004 pediatric flu deaths became notifiable in the States and heres what I found:

During the 2003-04 season, 152 influenza-associated deaths in U.S. residents aged < 18 years

In October 2004, influenza-associated pediatric deaths became nationally notifiable. As of July 6, 39 pediatric deaths.

During October 2, 2005 through June 24, 2006, 41 pediatric deaths have been reported to CDC

Since October 1, 2006, CDC has received 60 reports of influenza-associated pediatric deaths that occurred during the current season.

As of August 6, 2007, among persons aged <18 years, a total of 68 deaths associated with influenza infections occurring during October 1, 2006-May 19, 2007, were reported to CDC.

As of June 19, 2008, 83 deaths associated with laboratory-confirmed influenza infections have occurred among children aged < 18 years during the 2007--08 influenza season that were reported to CDC

So, it shows that there is a huge difference between the giant scary numbers that is reported for previous years and the the actual number that were confirmed.

Musukebba Fri 14-Aug-09 22:15:17

Thanks OYBBDM; this is an interesting topic.

Influenza (aka seasonal influenza) has never been a reportable disease in the UK, and thus its effects are calculated as 'excess deaths' or 'GP consultations for ILI'. So every year - even in previous pandemics through the century - we have not really been sure of accurate numbers whether they be paediatric or adult.

As you correctly say, the US took the initiative a few years ago and at least made paediatric deaths notifiable; and provided a useful definition to underpin the reporting. For the first time, laboratory diagnosis was considered a crucial factor.

Believe it or not there does not appear to be a national definition of a death due to swine flu in the UK at the moment. Some of us have had to adapt from the very useful sources of Australian and US definitions, and improvised on this for adult cases.

OhYouBadBadDailyMail Fri 14-Aug-09 22:40:22

It is interesting even from the outside it is obvious that there is no national definition and even if a definition was agreed upon it would be impossible to backdate it to previous epidemics and pandemics (which is just about what you said really but it is friday night and I've had a glass of wine )

I think what it actually really shows is that epidemiology is still an emerging science but that the press, government and public prefer statements of 'fact' and don't allow for the fact that virologists and epidemiologists are still learning (as in all areas of science)

Musukebba Fri 14-Aug-09 23:04:55

Lucky you with the wine... grin

Yes, the best epidemiology is based on laboratory data; otherwise it can only be suggestive of avenues to further hard research. Time will tell how much mathematical modelling - the newest epidemiology of all - has been useful in predicting the current pandemic.

Agree about the notion of backdating although with molecular techniques there are moves to dig out and analyse stored samples from previous pandemics and correlate with clinical diagnoses. At best still likely to be a small number analysed and thus an extrapolation; but may provide some insight into intra-pandemic mortality (which can be high too).

OhYouBadBadDailyMail Sat 15-Aug-09 08:13:03

That will be really interesting I think, I didn't realise molecular techniques were being used like that. I have read a little about attempts to look at the 1918 virus to understand that particular virus. Can the technique look at co-morbidity with bacteria? That would be pretty cool

Not entirely sure that time will really tell with regards to the the accuracy of the mathematical modelling grin I expect it will depend on who you ask and which 'final case count' you take. It will be very interesting though and I'm sure very useful for future epidemics.

It was rather nice wine

Gibbspercival Sun 16-Aug-09 10:05:16

Firstly go to :
www.uktabloid.co.uk/MainNews.html
scroll down and learn the truth about this dreaded abuse of the public!

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