H7N9 bird flu virus more lethal than SARS in 2003: medical expert

H7N9 more lethal than SARS: medical expert

CNA, 2013-04-27

The new H7N9 avian flu virus is more lethal than the strain of coronavirus that caused the global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, a doctor at National Taiwan University Hospital said Friday. Citing a University of Hong Kong research report, Huang Li-min, head of the hospital’s Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, said people infected with the H7N9 virus can get sick quickly, and the disease has a fatality rate currently estimated at over 10%. “Such a ratio is higher than that of the SARS virus,” Huang said, noting that the World Health Organization estimated the mortality rate for SARS at about 8%. According to data on the website of Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control, China had 114 confirmed H7N9 cases, with 23 deaths as of 6 pm Friday, which translated into a mortality rate of about 20%. But the University of Hong Kong report said there are at least as many undiscovered cases as confirmed cases, likel putting the new bird flu strain’s fatality rate at slightly higher than 10%. The H7N9 strain of the flu was not known to infect people until March 31, when China reported its first cases of human infections of the virus.Before then, it was only found in birds. The first H7N9 case reported in Taiwan involved a 53-year-old man who fell ill with symptoms of fever and fatigue on April 12, three days after returning to Taiwan from Suzhou in Jiangsu province, one of the H7N9-affected areas in China. Huang said the patient was transferred to National Taiwan University Hospital on April 20 and has been treated in a negative pressure quarantine ward since. The patient is being given ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) treatment and is in “serious but stable” condition, Huang added. Chang Shang-chun, the hospital’s deputy superintendent who is also an infectious disease expert, recalled that Taiwan’s first SARS patient also received treatment there. “But while the SARS patient was in serious condition, he did not need ECMO therapy, a sign that the H7N9 virus is even more virulent,” Chang said. Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health, security and the environment, said at a news conference in Beijing recently that the H7N9 is definitely one of the most lethal viruses that have been seen so far. Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center said Friday that the tracking period for suspected H7N9 cases or those potentially exposed to the virus will be extended from seven days to 10 days. The extension is needed to more effectively detect any H7N9 infection as studies published in medical journals such as The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine are saying the virus’s incubation period could reach 10 days, longer than the originally estimated seven days, the center said. The tracking period for those who have come into contact with Taiwan’s first imported H7N9 case will also be extended to 10 days, the center said.

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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