Thursday, 24 April 2014

Dump the garbage...

Sharon from @FluTrackers and I had an exchange on Skype this morning - always a useful way to message, even with my high rate of typos - and we agreed (or perhaps I bullied) that there was little point to keeping  "TheUAE12" (as I've taken to calling the 12 cases announced in the Kuwaiti News Agency [1]) on the list. 

In the past I've also argued that if samples get dropped, such as when Spanish or other cases could not be confirmed as MERS-CoV-positive, for whatever reasons, that FluTrackers retain their case numbers and "count around them". So the numbers become discontinuous. Those arguments are based on the numbers having already become embedded among flublogians/coronablogians and this way they could continue to be trackable by those who have used them. For example, FluTrackers makes a note saying this case is now a probable case, not included in the tally as it could not be suitably confirmed or somesuch. This is akin to not making wholesale changes to the name of a virus because you no longer like the "look" of the name when it already has decades of published literature behind it and is in the head of every researcher in the field. 

I proposed to Sharon that the MERS-CoV detections over the past few days were not yet embedded enough to be missed. So we've cleaned our lists. The FluTracker's tally [2] now sites at 360 cases using Ministry and WHO data. And I follow that excellent list.

So my Tweets this morning (AEST) were about those numbers having now been deleted and the case list comprising ~6-days and 70 cases has been "moved up" to fill the gap, but the numbers remain continuous. The new list [2] is thus 12 cases down from a few hours ago, but that has little impact on April's surge of new cases

We think that some of TheUAE12 are included in recent WHO Disease Outbreak News posts but they are not linked to the announced 12, no-one could/would link them to the announced 12 and so retaining them as empty case numbers was pointless.

On with the show.


  1. UAE Media Report: 12 New (Asymptomatic?) MERS Cases Detected
  2. FluTrackers MERS-CoV line list | MASTER LIST

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