Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A note on case fatality risk, rate or ratio (CFR)

..used in a couple of charts on the H7N9 page. This uses numbers based on very limited testing, publicly available data, recovered case numbers or understanding of the acquisition, transmission and clinical presentations associated with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus. 

It is very early days yet however I think this number gives you an idea of our understanding at the moment. It will undoubtedly change in the coming days, weeks and years. To be pedantic, the CFR relies uses the number of discharges/recovered cases as the denominator for the CFR. However, that will sensationally inflate the result. 

The CFR is often considered most useful at the end of an epidemic/pandemic, but less so when data-in-hand is limited such as during the early days of many outbreaks. Keeping in mind that some will take the CFR and multiply it by the world's population as an estimate of how many would die if the virus reached pandemic levels, I don't believe that approach is the best way to present the CFR metric for the emergence of a novel virus (usually first identified by the worst of the clinical presentations that will eventually be attributed to the virus). 

You won't see that usage on VDU, you will see the "rolling" version though. The US CDC definition is useful here.