“it’s very difficult to quantify the human health impact at this stage”

With the BBC reporting a “probable case of swine flu” in Northern Ireland – although I’d wait for the results of those tests [Adds the results are in] – via the [law] Professor, here’s some sort of good news..

The team also used epidemiological data and information about the virus’ genetic diversity to determine that the swine flu virus has a basic reproductive rate of 1.2-1.6, a number that shows how easily the virus spreads within a population. The seasonal flu, which hits countries, typically hovers around 1.2, whereas the second, more severe wave of the 1918 flu reached about 2. The swine flu has a fatality rate of around 0.4%, the researchers say, nowhere near the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which claimed over 50 million lives between 1918 and 1920, but closer to the milder 1957 influenza pandemic, which claimed nearly 1 million.

Important to note though that

However, the researchers emphasize that these are preliminary estimates and the results of the study are only meant to validate WHO’s decision to categorize the pandemic as a level 5.

Science abstract here

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