Feb 07, 2014
Meanwhile, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) today weighed in on the latest outbreak developments in an epidemiologic update, much of it comparing the two waves of disease activity. It said the age and gender patterns in the two peaks do not differ much, though the second peak shows slightly more females infected.
The case-fatality rate (CFR) appears to be lower in the second peak, 11.6% compared with 32% in the first peak, but ECDC cautioned that the CFR could rise among the recent patients owing to disease progression. The ECDC noted that although hospitalization information was scarce for many of the first-wave patients, during the second peak, 171 of 173 patients included in its report have been hospitalized, 149 of them in severe or critical condition at notification time.
Though a few small clusters have been detected, almost all cases are sporadic and have no obvious epidemiologic links. So far no sustained human-to-human spread has been detected.
Most patients had contact with poultry and other live birds, and the most likely scenario is that of a zoonotic avian influenza spread in eastern China. "It is a severe threat to humans because of its severity and genetic features that have human pandemic potential," the ECDC said.