Expert: Case fatality rate not that high

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 19 Aug 2009

A(H1N1): Health curfew if mortality rate reaches 0.4pc

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of Influenza A (H1N1) deaths in Malaysia may be higher than that of our neighbours, but the case fatality rate (the number of people with confirmed H1N1 who died) is not remarkably high.

Dr Christopher Lee, consultant physician and head of infectious diseases at Sungai Buloh Hospital, said this is especially when one considers the World Health Organisation estimation that 15-20 cases go unreported for every case of A (H1N1) confirmed.

Dr Lee also said that of the total confirmed Malaysian A (H1N1) deaths, adults made up approximately 70% of the cases (45 out of 67).

While 80% of the adults who died had underlying medical conditions, 20% did not.

As such, all persons with flu are reminded to monitor their condition closely and seek treatment if their symptoms worsen, even if they do not fall in a high-risk group, Dr Lee said at a media briefing at the Sungai Buloh Hospital yesterday.

Based on US data, Dr Lee said the age group most likely to contract A (H1N1) flu was five to 24.

It was not necessarily because this group was more physiologically susceptible, but because this group was more socially mobile and likely to be exposed to the infection.

However, the age groups most likely to experience flu complications requiring hospitalisation were the very young (below five,

especially those below two) and the very old (over 65), as normally seen with seasonal influenza, he explained.

Meanwhile, three more deaths due to A (H1N1) were reported yesterday, taking the total to 67.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said all the deaths involved those in the high-risk group, including a 33-year-old woman. The second victim was a girl aged 10 while the third was an elderly person aged 71.

Separately, NS Training Council chairman Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe said the 85 national service camps would not be closed because the spread of Influenza A (H1N1) virus was still under control.

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