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Swine Flu’s Death Toll 10 Times Higher Than WHO Estimates

Update Date: Nov 27, 2013 08:43 AM EST

The 2009 swine-flu pandemic might have killed 10 times than the estimates by WHO. A new analysis by scientists have found that the pandemic might have caused 203,000 deaths.

“This study confirms that the H1N1 virus killed many more people globally than originally believed,” said lead author, Lone Simonsen, from George Washington University according to Business Standard.

“We also found that the mortality burden of this pandemic fell most heavily on younger people and those living in certain parts of the Americas,” said Simonsen.

A group of scientists teamed up with 60 collaborators in 26 different countries.

Initially WHO had reported the laboratory death of 18,449 people from 2009 flu pandemic.

The new study that has been funded by WHO, reports that the actual death toll was much higher than the official count because most infected people never got an H1N1 lab test, reported Business Standard. 

The team of researchers obtained the virology data every week from WHO. They then used the information to estimate the number of respiratory deaths. These deaths occurred when H1N1 got into the lungs and caused pneumonia.

Later a novel statistical procedure was used to determine the results. The team discovered that if the H1N1 deaths due to cardiovascular disease and other causes were included, the death toll might touch the 400,000 mark.

The report estimated that 62 to 85% of people who died where younger than the age of 65.

The study is published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

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