Worldwide Flu Death Estimates Rise
Newly-released results from a multi-national study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and global health partners indicate that between 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide die from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses each year. These estimates, which exclude deaths from pandemic flu, are higher than previously estimated.
The study involved 47 countries, 33 of which were surveyed for a minimum of four years. Researchers used statistical modeling to generate an estimate of the number of flu-associated respiratory deaths for 185 countries across the world. Information from the other 14 countries involved in the study was then used to validate the model estimates.
According to public health officials, the greatest flu mortality burden occurs in the poorest regions of the world and among older adults. Since the new estimates are limited to flu-associated respiratory deaths, they probably underestimate the true global impact of seasonal influenza, which can cause complications in people with other health problems like heart disease and diabetes.