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Media Statement (4) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 14th August 2009: 

Why is A (H1N1) death rate in Malaysia four times the global case fatality rate?

Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai should explain why Malaysia’s A (H1N1) death rate is four times the global case fatality rate.

Malaysia’s death toll from A (H1N1) flu has topped 56 since the first fatality three weeks ago.

Below I have calculated the mortality rates for the following countries, based on reported number of confirmed H1N1 cases, as of 13 August 2009. Some countries like Singapore have ceased to report on total cases, where their current reports are on the number of patients still receiving treatment in hospitals. Some countries have yet to report their most updated total number of cases, hence i have given their numbers as of the date in brackets below. The number of deaths are as of 13 August.

The following are a comparison of Malaysia’s A (H1N1) flu fatality rate with other comparies based on confirmed cases and deaths made public yesterday:

Country Deaths Total Confirmed Cases Mortality rate (%)
Hong Kong 4 6,417 0.0623
Indonesia 3 812 (11 Aug) 0.3695
Malaysia 51 2,955 1.7259
Philippines 8 3,207 (30 July) 0.2495
Singapore 10 3,071 (11 July) 0.3256
Thailand 97 8,877 (2 Aug) 1.092
Vietnam 2 1,275 0.157
Australia 102 28,987 0.3519
New Zealand 14 2,984 (11 Aug) 0.469

The influenza A (H1N1) mortality rate in Malaysia is close to 2% instead of the 0.1% to 0.4% as estimated by the Health Ministry. It reflects an unusual phenomenon. Without finding out the crux of the problem, assuming that 5 million of people are infected, probably 100,000 of them will die, instead of 5,000 to 28,000 as estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Full and satisfactory explanations are warranted from Liow.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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