H5N1 bird flu cases more common than thought: study
Bird flu is believed to be a rare disease that kills more than half of the people it infects, but a US study out Thursday suggests it may be more common and less lethal than previously thought.
The research could help soothe concerns about the potential for a deadly pandemic that may kill many millions of people, sparked by the recent lab creation of a mutant bird flu that can pass between mammals.
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York analyzed 20 previous international studies that tested the blood of nearly 13,000 participants worldwide, according to the study in the journal Science.
They found that between one and two percent of those tested showed evidence of a prior H5N1 avian flu infection, meaning millions of people may have been infected around the globe.
The World Health Organization's figures currently show just 573 cases in 15 countries since 2003, with 58.6 percent of those resulting in death.
The researchers said the WHO may be overlooking cases by focusing only on hospitalizations and severe illnesses, and recommended a new approach to calculating the true number of bird flu cases.
The findings could also mean that the death rate from bird flu is underestimated, largely because many of the people who get sick from it live in rural farming areas where medical care may be difficult to come by.
"We suggest that further investigation, on a large scale and by a standardized approach, is warranted to better estimate the total number of H5N1 infections that have occurred in humans," the authors wrote.
Researchers in the Netherlands and the United States have sparked international alarm with lab research that was successful in creating a mutant form of bird flu that was found to be transmissible among ferrets.
US health authorities have urged major science journals to publish only heavily edited forms of the studies in order to prevent the data from falling into terrorists' hands.
However, an international group of experts meeting at WHO headquarters in Geneva last week decided that the studies should eventually be published in full, but that a further risk assessment is needed before that can happen.
More information: "Seroevidence for H5N1 Influenza Virus Infections in Humans: A Meta-Analysis," by T.T. Wang; M.K. Parides; P. Palese at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, NY. Science (2012).
Journal reference: Science
(c) 2012 AFP
- Bird flu kills Cambodian girl Apr 15, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- WHO 'deeply concerned' by mutant bird flu Dec 31, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Niger reports spread of bird flu Feb 27, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists debate bird flu studies at WHO Feb 16, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Bird flu kills one in Vietnam Jun 18, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Bacteria resistant to the antibiotic colistin are also commonly resistant to antimicrobial substances made by the human body, according to a study in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microb ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 3 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
(AP)—Federal investigators probing the hantavirus outbreak blamed for three deaths at Yosemite National Park recommend that design changes to tent cabins and other lodging run by private concessionaires first be reviewed ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new diagnostic test for a worm infection that can lead to severe enlargement and deformities of the legs and genitals is far more sensitive than the currently used test, according to results of a field ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A Saudi man who had contracted the coronavirus has died, raising the death toll in the kingdom from the SARS-like virus to 16, the health ministry announced on Monday on its Internet website.
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new "telerehabilitation" approach lets physical therapists assess patients with low back pain (LBP) over the Internet, with good accuracy compared with face-to-face examinations, reports a study in the May 15 issue of Sp ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—A research team, led by Jeremy Barr, a biology post-doctoral fellow, unveils a new immune system that protects humans and animals from infection.
9 hours ago | 4.6 / 5 (12) | 4 |
Early-life exposure to traffic-related air pollution was significantly associated with higher hyperactivity scores at age 7, according to new research from the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cincinnati Children's Hospital ...
3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
New research suggests that a compound abundant in the Mediterranean diet takes away cancer cells' "superpower" to escape death. By altering a very specific step in gene regulation, this compound essentially re-educates cancer ...
12 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (11) | 2 |
Salamanders' immune systems are key to their remarkable ability to regrow limbs, and could also underpin their ability to regenerate spinal cords, brain tissue and even parts of their hearts, scientists have ...
12 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (6) | 2 |
Researchers have pinpointed a catalytic trigger for the onset of Alzheimer's disease – when the fundamental structure of a protein molecule changes to cause a chain reaction that leads to the death of neurons ...
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Turns out, that old "practice makes perfect" adage may be overblown. New research led by Michigan State University's Zach Hambrick finds that a copious amount of practice is not enough to explain why people ...
10 hours ago | 3.3 / 5 (10) | 0 |