H7N9 bird flu may have infected twice as many people as the 105 cases reported, Hong Kong researchers say

H7N9 Cases May Be Double Known Figure, Hong Kong Researchers Say

H7N9 bird flu may have infected twice as many people as the 103 cases reported, an analysis by researchers at the University of Hong Kong showed. There may be 90 to 120 ill adults who haven’t been detected because their infections are mild, Benjamin Cowling, associate professor at the university’s public health research center, said today. The researchers’ analysis suggests risk of serious illness from the virus rises substantially with age, with more than half of reported cases age 60 or older, he said. Flu specialists including those from the World Health Organization are investigating how people are catching the H7N9 virus, with no evidence yet of sustained human-to-human transmission. Disease trackers haven’t been able to figure out why another deadly bird flu strain known as H5N1 afflicts mostly younger people in their 20s and 30s, while H7N9 mainly targets the elderly. “One thing that is very striking is the age distribution of the cases,” Cowling said at a briefing at the university’s medical school today. “They’re very different from the confirmed infections of H5N1.”

The estimates were derived from a model using publicly available data, said Gabriel Leung, director of the university’s public health center. Further studies will be conducted, the researchers said. The WHO is still assessing the H7N9 outbreak and investigations haven’t proved any transmission from person to person, Keiji Fukuda, the Geneva-based agency’s assistant director-general for health security and environment, said at a briefing in Shanghai today. Twenty people have died among the 103 H7N9 cases reported by China. A majority of the patients are in eastern China, with Shanghai and Zhejiang province having the most cases among regions there.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natasha Khan in Hong Kong at nkhan51@bloomberg.net

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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