Global death toll from H1N1 flu pandemic still unknown

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Influenza vaccines

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the official death toll from the 2010 H1N1 flu pandemic is still subject to intensive research around the world.

WHO however says official records put the number of deaths listed as having been caused by the H1N1 virus at 18,500 worldwide.

The organization says the actual number of deaths worldwide as a result of the pandemic remains unknown as many countries did not record the H1N1 flu virus as a direct cause of death.

A research paper published in the Lancet medical journal, claims the death toll could have been 15 times higher than previously thought.

The research estimates that 284,400 people actually died in the first year the virus was circulating around the world.

Fadela Chaib is the spokesperson for the World Health Organization.

"When you have deaths it is rarely registered as death from H1N1. It could be registered as respiratory failure or respiratory disorder. Even in many countries even seasonal influenza is not registered. This is why a lot of experts worldwide including experts from WHO are working to try to understand better how many people could have died from H1N1 from 2009 to 2010. Experts will take different angles to do their research. For the time being we cannot say if this number is reasonable or not."

Duration: 39"

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