H7N9 Mortality

A week ago, in response to some scary reports, I tweeted this:

I wanted to see how my public prediction held up in the H7N9 outbreak after an admittedly short 7 days and approximately 2 weeks after the outbreak gained widespread attention. To do this, I simply plotted the reported mortality rate using the daily case and mortality counts available through the @WHO twitter feed between April 1st and April 16th.

While the case counts have gone from 3 to 63 over this period, reported deaths have risen more slowly from 2 to 14 and the mortality rate has fallen from 67% to 22%. When I made the prediction it was 30%. If I had included data from April 17th, the mortality rate would have fallen further to 20.7%, 17 deaths and 82 cases. I've plotted the daily mortality rate below. Good news, but still a ridiculously virulent virus. Hopefully, as more surveillance specimens return, the mortality rate will continue to fall. Hopefully.

Addendum: Immediately after posting this, several twitter discussions began. To clarify, I know many of the sick patients are still hospitalized in the ICU. Even cases that appear to initially recover could succumb to secondary bacterial infections. Helen Branswell made the important observation that two of the three cases in the recent NEJM report were infected with Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii and at least one of them didn't appear to receive appropriate antibiotic therapy. Hopefully, as recognition increases, so will early diagnosis and early antiviral therapy along with effective antibiotic therapy (if available).


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