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Media Myths on Swin
Flu in Ukraine Raise Concerns
At least 30 people had been infected by the virulent A/H1N1 swine flu virus, according to the most recent official data.
The above comments in the same English language report continue to confuse. The Ukraine Ministry of Health has been putting out daily updates on influenza/ARI cases (see map), which now top 1 million. Since there is virtually no seasonal flu circulating in Europe, the vast majority of these cases are due to swine H1N1. Moreover, the clinical presentation of ninety fatal cases was presented. These patients were coughing up blood and their lungs totally disintegrated. A small number were tested and were shown to be H1N1 positive.
However, the number of lab confirmed cases is small because of limited testing. Consequently, the reports of over 1 million flu cases and 30 H1N1 cases gives the false impression that the number of H1N1 cases is a tiny fraction of the flu cases, when just the opposite is true.
The situation is further distorted by official reports of flu in European countries, which show the absence of serotypes other than swine flu (which represent well over 99% of flu cases), yet show one fatality in Ukraine, when the official tally of influenza/ARI pneumonia deaths is 189.
These media and agency reports create significant confusion, which is true for countries throughout Europe. H1N1 testing in most countries is minimal, so the vast majority of cases are not tested. However the flu0like cases are reported, creating an illusion that only a small portion of flu cases are due to H1N1. In neighboring Belarus, almost ¼ million cases were reported in the past week, but only a small percentage at classified as lab confirmed H1N1.
Thus, media and agency reports continue to confuse, by reporting influenza cases based on symptoms followed by numbers for lab confirmed cases which are a tiny fraction of the number of cases.
Moreover, even though the number of cases and deaths in Ukraine continue to rise, the sequences from the Ukraine cases have not been released.