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March 13, 2006

Dr. Bob's rough actuarial estimates

We need to put some usable numbers and projections on the table.  For official calculations, the CDC FluAid calculator has all kinds of estimates and state totals; unfortunately, I find their numbers difficult to work with.  So here are my estimates.  Your comments will only increase their accuracy and value. 

I am a physician, not an actuary, but I do make these kinds of projections as part of my daily work.  My purpose is to start a meaningful discussion about what the numbers might be; I am not offering definitive or documented analysis. 

This time I assume that 25% become ill with pandemic influenza, 30% of these will seek outpatient medical care, 10% of these will be hospitalized and 80% will require a ventilator for 7 days until death or recovery, and half of all hospitalized people will die.   Further, I assume that the pandemic wave will last 3 months; 1/6 will get ill in the first month, 2/3 in the middle month, and then 1/6 in the third month.  By the way, I always rounded to the thousands because all of the estimates are so rough right now.   My final number is a death rate of 1.6% of those who become ill with pandemic flu.  Yes, I know that is lower than our collective predictions from last week, but this is enough to grab your attention. 

Using these estimates:  In month one and month three, 40,000 people in our fictitious town of 1,000,000 become ill, 13,000  (433 per day) seek medical care, of whom 1,300 (43 per day) are hospitalized for an average of 7 days and 650 (21 per day) die.  In the middle peak month, 160,000 are infected, 48,000 (1,600 per day) seek medical care, of whom 4,800 (160 per day) are hospitalized for an average of 7 days and 2,400 (80 per day) die.       

I look forward to your comments about these estimates. 

And, yes, I am still a steady yellow.  Lots of birds, not much else.  I do wish the media would call a dead bird a dead bird and not a "case of bird flu."  There may be enough of those someday, but not now. 

Posted by dymaxion at March 13, 2006 10:13 PM

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