Ten days after China’s Ministry of Health called for more accurate reporting on the spread of H1N1, results are being seen.
Liang Wannian, the head of the ministry’s health emergency response department, said at a briefing in Beijing that the number of reported deaths from H1N1 now stands at 178, more than triple the number two weeks ago. (Transcript of briefing, posted on the MoH Web site late Tuesday, in Chinese here.).Overall, China has confirmed more than 91,000 cases of the virus, Liang said.
At the time of Dr. Zhong’s statements, there had been only 53 deaths reported out of nearly 70,000 confirmed cases. World-wide, the mortality rate for H1N1 has been 4 deaths per 1,000 cases of illness, according to the WHO.
Meanwhile, in this article, it is stated:
Virologists and influenza authorities are becoming increasingly concerned that the 2009 A-H1N1 flu virus could “reassort” with the highly virulent H5N1 avian flu that’s still prevalent in parts of the world like China, and that a mutation could occur resulting in a new strain that has the lethality of H5N1 and the human transmissibility of A-H1N1.
Zhong Nanshan, director of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases in China's southern Guangdong province, warned that China has to be on high alert to any mutation and changes in the virulence of A-H1N1.
"This is something we need to monitor, the change, the mutation of the virus. This is why reporting of the death rate must be really transparent,” he told Reuters Television, adding, China, as you know, is different from other countries. Inside China, H5N1 has been existing for some time, so if there is really a reassortment between H1N1 and H5N1, it will be a disaster.”
WHO reported more than half-a-million laboratory confirmed cases of H1N1 worldwide in mid-November and close to 7,000 deaths, but stressed that in reality that figure is likely much, much higher.
As pointed out here on this website, the CDC was trying to develop a reassortment of the H1N1/H5N1 virus. And an avian type mutation of the H1N1 was found in Ireland.
In September of this year, the Wall Street Journal reported the CDC had conducted tests on ferrets to see the effect of combining the H1N1/H5N1 strains.