"H5N1 Bird Flu Infection May Be More Common, Less Deadly, Than Thought"

"Mount Sinai School of Medicine virologists find signs of infection in 1-2% of blood samples screened, but most people didn't seek or need treatment."

"The World Health Organization says the H5N1 bird flu kills nearly 60% of people who become infected, but a study released Thursday suggests the true fatality rate may actually be much lower.

Virologists at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City examined data on blood samples collected from more than 12,000 people in Asia, Europe and Africa and found evidence of H5N1 infection in 1% to 2% of cases. Most of those people did not become ill with the flu, according to a report in the journal Science, and none of them died.

The findings, which used data from 20 previously published studies, suggest that many more people have been infected with H5N1 flu viruses than the 586 officially confirmed by the WHO as of Wednesday; if so, the fatality rate could be lower than the 59% reported by the global health agency."

Eryn Brown reports for the Los Angeles Times February 23, 2012.

Source: LA Times, 02/24/2012