Wednesday, 15 January 2014

H7N9: males and females among total and fatal lab-confirmed cases...

Click on image to enlarge.
Males are the predominant host for H7N9 cases that are severe enough to warrant a hospital visit (or the contacts thereof). 

As ever, we have no real idea of the extent to which H7N9 is circulating among those who are not ill enough to present to a hospital. Only the use of a sensitive virus detection method on less ill or healthy people could tell us that. Such testing seems to be anathema, perhaps due to cost (?), for H7N9, MERS-CoV or H5N1 for that matter. So much we don't know but settle for in the respiratory virus game. But some of us go collectively bananas when a case turns up somewhere "unexpected".

Finally, the H7N9 fatality data are severely hobbled by a lack of linkage between H7N9 case notification and which cases died. That linkage broke somewhere after April. Reporting has improved drastically of late with the WHO confirming cases and details but 12 fatal H7N9 cases are publicly lacking enough information to use in sex-related charts, age-related charts, dates-of-onset/reporting charts or dates-of-death charts. 

I'm grateful to the WHO today for responding to a request and noting that 52 deaths have been reported to them, bringing the proportion of fatal H7N9 cases to 29%.