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Flu deaths reality check - Credibility of flu models disputed

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  • Flu deaths reality check - Credibility of flu models disputed

    Worth reading in full - Ro

    Influenza
    Flu deaths reality check
    Credibility of flu models disputed
    By Kelly Crowe, CBC News Posted: Nov 25, 2012 5:14 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 25, 2012 5:12 PM ET

    Do thousands of Canadians really die every year from the flu? The flu folks keep saying so. I've already heard it repeated several times this year and flu season has just started. This is what the Public Health Agency of Canada said in a recent press release: "Every year, between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians die of the flu and its complications."

    In a CBC interview a few weeks ago an editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal said: "Four thousand to 8,000 people die every year of influenza."

    It comes directly from the desk of Canada's chief public health officer: "The flu is serious," he tells us from his web site. "Every year, between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians die of the flu and its complications."

    Did you ever wonder how they know that? The fact is, they don't know that. "This is a scientific guess, this is not the truth," Dr. Michael Gardam, director of the Infection Prevention and Control Unit at the University Health Network and long time flu watcher told me.

    The fact is, no one knows how many people die after being infected with the flu virus. The death estimates are not based on body counts, lab tests or autopsies.

    "I think people may have the misconception that every person who dies from the flu is somehow counted somewhere and they're not," Dr. Gardam said.

    The "2,000 to 8,000" numbers are based on computer models — a statistical guess that comes out of the end of a mathematical formula that makes a range of assumptions about death and flu.
    ...

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/...ths-crowe.html
    Twitter: @RonanKelly13
    The views expressed are mine alone and do not represent the views of my employer or any other person or organization.

  • #2
    Re: Flu deaths reality check - Credibility of flu models disputed

    Important points in the article . . .
    The flu virus has lots of ugly company in the winter — less famous viruses such as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus); the ubiquitous cold bugs, including the coronavirus and the adenovirus; as well as Streptococcus pneumonia and all of its bacterial friends. Influenza is certainly one of the nastiest viruses in the group. It also happens to be the only one with a vaccine.
    and Dr. Kumanan Wilson, the Canada Research Chair in Public Health Policy at the University of Ottawa, stated “it’s a real disease that we have to take seriously.”
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