While millions of people have been infected by the novel H1N1 virus over the summer, the far-less-transmissible H5N1 `Bird’ flu virus is still out there in the wild, and still occasionally infecting humans.
The WHO remains at Pre-Pandemic Level III on the H5N1 virus, with confirmed human infections this year from China, Vietnam, and Egypt.
Indonesia, as you may already know, ceased reporting on their human H5N1 infections last year. We still get occasional news reports of `suspect cases’, but officially they haven’t seen any confirmed cases since 2008.
Of course, no one believes that.
Egypt, which has been far more open and transparent about their H5N1 situation has now reported 33 human infections this year, with 3 fatalities.
Today we learn (hat tip Dutchy on Flutrackers) of another child in Egypt diagnosed with the H5N1 virus. This is their 84th known human infection. Nearly all of the victims this year have been toddlers, under the age of 5.
For reasons that are not yet clear, the mortality rate in Egypt has dropped dramatically this year, with 90% of those infected recovering. Whether this is due to better (or perhaps, earlier) treatment, or due to a milder form of the virus in Egypt, isn’t known.
While seemingly good news, a less virulent virus is believed to be more easily transmitted in a community, since the victims are less ill and more likely to come in contact with others.
With the pandemic H1N1 virus also circulating, there are concerns over the possible reassortment of these two viruses (see FAO: Concerns Novel H1N1 May Spread In Poultry), particularly in places like Egypt, Indonesia, and China.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
A new human bird flu case was confirmed in Egypt on Friday 28/8/2009, taking to 84 the number of infections in the country.
A 20-month girl from Berket al-Saba, Menoufiya governorate, tested positive for the virus, Health Ministry's undersecretary for preventive affairs Amr Qandeel said.
The child showed bird flu-like symptoms after contacting with infected poultry, the official said.
She was admitted to Manshiyet al-Bakri hospital and given the anti-viral Tamiflu drug, he added.