Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Egypt Reports Two New Bird Flu Cases



# 3615



The WHO (World Health Organization) has updated their Avian Flu disease outbreak page with reports of two new H5N1 cases in Egypt in July.   


Avian influenza - situation in Egypt - update 21


11 August 2009 -- The Ministry of Health of Egypt has reported 2 new confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H5N1).

The first case is an 8 year-old female from Kfr Elsheikh district, Kfr Elsheikh Governorate. Her symptoms started on 24 July 2009. She was admitted to Kfr Elsheikh fever hospital on 25 July, where she received oseltamivir treatment. The patient is in a stable condition.


The second case is an 18 month-old male from Shebin Elkom district, Menofyia Governorate. His symptoms started on 28 July 2009. He was admitted to Shebin Elkom fever hospital on 29 July 2009, where he received oseltamivir treatment, and is in a stable condition.


Investigations into the source of infection indicated that both cases had close contact with dead and/or sick poultry.


The cases were confirmed by the Egyptian Central Public Health Laboratories.


Of the 83 cases confirmed to date in Egypt, 27 have been fatal.



Summer is, of course, the slow time for H5N1 reports.  


The concern is that this fall and winter, when we normally see a rise in human bird flu infections, we may see a reassortment of the virus with the H1N1 swine flu virus.   How likely that is to happen, no one can really say.  But it is considered a possibility.


Less dramatic, but certainly possible, will be that with a swine flu pandemic underway, it will be more difficult to identify, and isolate, human bird flu cases.  


That may give the virus a better opportunity to spread in a community, particularly in Egypt where the virus over the past year appears to have become milder.


In any event, the threat of the H5N1 virus is independent and separate from that of the H1N1 swine flu, and that threat has not gone away or diminished because we are now facing a different pandemic.


Note: Reporting from other countries on H5N1 has diminished over the past year or so.  In some cases this may indicate a lessening in the number of infections, but in other countries – like Indonesia – we know it is simply part of an embargo on information about cases.


h1n1_watcher said...

Investigations into the source of infection indicated that both cases had close contact with dead and/or sick poultry.

This is the all-important phrase I am always looking for first when reading about human H5N1 reports.

Thank god, the direct link to animal exposure has almost always been present.

It doesn't bear thinking about what happens if(when?) this thing (or a recombinat variant) goes H2H.

I am a bit concerned that after the relatively mild H1N1 swine flu pandmic ends (hopefully) without major disruptions, the public level of pandemic awareness and preparation will be weakened considerably ...

phytosleuth said...

I agree. Here we have the opportunity to practice and we are ignoring it.

Am pretty sure we are going to do this the hard way.