Intended for healthcare professionals


US flu mortality estimates are based on solid science

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 19 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:177
  1. Lone Simonsen, senior epidemiologist (,
  2. Robert Taylor, contract analyst,
  3. Cecile Viboud, visiting fellow,
  4. Jonathan Dushoff, research scientist,
  5. Mark Miller, director, Division of Epidemiology and International Population Studies
  1. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
  2. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

    Editor—Doshi implies that the use of statistical models to estimate flu related mortality is inappropriate.1 Not so. Epidemiologists rely on statistical models because the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) code for influenza (ICD9 487) severely undercounts the true number of flu related deaths. Doshi also implies that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deliberately exaggerates flu mortality for the benefit of the pharmaceutical industry, while other scientists stand by, meek and mute. The BMJ's decision to publish Doshi's commentary with no counterpoint from …

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