Monday, 16 September 2013

Age and sex morbidity and mortality from avian influenza A(H7N9) virus

Click to enlarge. The majority of cases of H7N9 that occurred
worldwide earlier in 2013. Taken from Virology Down Under's
H7N9 page.
In a study co-written by yours truly using a lot of data collected for Virology Down Under, Dr Joseph Dudley and I have just described, in the Journal of Clinical Virology, the age-specific and sex-specific morbidity and mortality from the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus outbreak earlier in the year.

We sought to highlight differences between H7N9 and another zoonotic influenza A virus, H5N1. The distribution of age and sex is notably different between cases of each virus in more distant countries (Saudi Arabia vs Egypt) as it is within the same country (see Cowling et al reference in the article's discussion). Such differences and patterns may be instructive for identifying specific risk factors for an outbreak and also serve to highlight that there are differences between outbreaks which, on the surface, might be expected to have very similar courses. 

Intriguingly, there were marked similarities between H7N9 and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus age and sex case distribution.

We also published the term created here on VDU, the Proportion of Fatal Cases (PFC). A percentage defined as the number of currently known fatalities divided by the number of total lab-confirmed cases including fatalities, regardless of whether they are inpatients (hospitalized) or outpatients. It was created to avoid the need for a gauge of recovered cases (released from hospital) which is linked with use of the term Case Fatality Ratio.