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Paradigm Shift Intervention Monitoring
Tests are being carried out to see if a
number of people, including young children, have died from flu or
It has been reported that three adults have died from swine flu and six children aged under five have died from viral respiratory diseases in Leicestershire in the past few weeks.
NHS managers refused to comment on the numbers until they have the results of laboratory tests to confirm the causes of death.
The above comments describe an H1N1 death cluster at Leicestershire, UK. However, since the cases have not been lab confirmed, they are not included in the HPA fatality list, which is a gross under-estimate. It is likely that similar unreported H1N1 deaths are widespread in the UK, s Since H1N1 is treatable with anti-virals, and treatment is most effective when started within 48 hours of symptoms, it is likely that many cases are tested and found to be positive, but unreported because cause of death has not been “verified”. Similarly, positives are also likely to be a gross under-estimate because the rapid test for H1N1 has a very low sensitivity (as low as 10%, which means that 90% of H1N1 infected cases test negative).
The recent report of 460 ICU cases, which are largely from H1N1, has sounded alarm bells because of the rapid rise in such cases (302 were reported three days earlier) and the limited ECMO capacity (which were severely taxed last season when only 180 patients were in ICU beds).
Thus, the true magnitude of the current and growing problem is not well understood by the general population, where vaccination rates are low, and mixed messages on “normal” flu deaths continue to misinform.