New virus less lethal than bird flu, SARS: Mexico

May 2nd, 2009 - 1:01 am ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, May 1 (DPA) The new variant of influenza, A(H1N1) commonly known as swine flu, which has killed 15 people in Mexico and one in the US, is less lethal than bird flu and SARS that have killed more than 1,000 people in Asia since 2003, Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos said Friday.
“Fortunately the virus is not so aggressive,” Cordova Villalobos said. “It is not as lethal as the case of bird flu, where mortality is around 70 percent.”

Mexico has so far reported a 4.18-percent death rate from the 358 people confirmed to have fallen sick from the virus. More than 776 samples have been tested. As many as 160 people are suspected to have died of the flu in Mexico, though only 15 cases were confirmed.

Data released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that from 2003 to April 23, 2009, there were 421 bird flu infections around the world, including 257 deaths. This means the virus has a mortality rate of 61 percent.

In the case of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), WHO reported 8,098 cases between March 17-Sep 26, 2003, with 774 deaths or a 9.55-percent mortality.

“We are apparently being able to contain (the new virus) more quickly,” Cordova Villalobos said.

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