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Men twice as likely to contract the lethal H7N9 bird flu than women: report

Men twice as likely to contract H7N9 than women: report

Staff Reporter, 2013-04-30

Men are twice as likely to contract the deadly H7N9 avian influenza than women, according to Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center. Based on analysis of existing H7N9 cases reported in China, which have risen to 125 as of Sunday, including 23 deaths, the center found that there were twice as many male victims than there were female. In terms of age, those 50 years or older account for 74% of all cases, with patients aged between 30 to 39 following at 11%, and those aged between 40 and 49, accounting for 7%. Patients aged between 20 and 29 account for 5%, while only 3% of victims are under ten years old.Taiwan’s deputy health minister Lin Tzou-yien, said that the proportion of older victims is much higher than during the previous H5N1 bird flu outbreak in 2008 — especially among males.

According to data compiled by the World Health Organization on the 63 confirmed patients between March 31 and April 16, the average age of H7N9 victims is 64, with the virus mortality rate among both male and female victims over the age of 60, standing at 20%.

Shih Shin-ru, director of the Research Center for Emerging Viral Infections at Taiwan’s Chang Gung University, is one of many scientists attempting to understand the virus through its genetic code. Currently, the virus appears confined to transmit from birds to humans but the concern is that the virus could evolve to become an effective type of human-to-human transmission, she said.

Previous tests of the H5N1 subtype of the bird flu in ferrets showed that the virus can mutate quickly to become an effective airborne killer. But humans and ferrets are very different, as are the H5N1 and H7N9 subtypes, Shih said, adding that gene sequencing can only provide a direction for speculation and genetic shifts will require further observation.

Huang Li-min, director of pediatric infectious diseases at National Taiwan University Hospital, said the scientific world is still searching for answers when it comes to the H7N9 virus and it remains unclear just how much genetic mutation is required before it can spread effectively among humans.

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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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