There are a number of media stories regarding the testing of `suspected’ H5N1 cases in Gharbia, and Minya Egypt this morning, and this time of year – with winter’s predictable rise in respiratory viruses – that isn’t unexpected.
No doubt dozens are tested every day during the winter in Egypt, but most end up not being avian flu.
But in the past hour numerous Egyptian media sources have published reports that a 2 year-old from Sohag has tested positive – making the 11th Egyptian case since mid-November and the 15th case of the year.
While the total number of Egyptian bird flu cases for the year remains well below that seen in 2010 and 2011, the rate of new cases being reported (11 in just 3 weeks) is concerning, particularly given how early we are in `avian flu season’.
Typically we see the most human cases during winter and spring.
First a media report from Forbes, then I’ll be back with a bit more:
Saturday, December 6, 2014 15:32:00
The Ministry of health and population of Egypt, the high number of people infected with bird flu to 15, after a two years old child, from a village in Sohag governorate akhmim management. And the child was suffering from fever, cough and sore throat after exposure to birds, has been booked in at a hospital in Sohag on Thursday, fevers, give it a drug "Tamiflu" anti virus infection has been confirmed after the results of the analyses of the central laboratory of the Ministry of health and in stable condition.
Yesterday the Governor of Minya declared a bird flu emergency, and based on the number of news stories in the Arabic press, the level of local alarm is increasing. According to the following article, Minya Governorate has set up a specialized ambulance strictly for the transport of suspected H5N1 cases.
Saturday, 06 February, 2014, 11: 20 am
Minya specialty ambulance crew for bird flu patients only Minya specialty crew ambulance patients flu folding
Dr may said security Undersecretary in Minya, the ambulance is equipped with a crew of doctor and paramedic instructors, to transport and deal with patients and with suspected Bird flu.
She may have been processing and public hospitals and village health units, to be the highest degree of readiness to receive any medical conditions may receive, in addition to processing '' ghettos '' fever hospitals at the county level to isolate patients immediately if found disease, as confirmed by the Department of health continues to train doctors and nurses in hospitals and health facilities and rapid response teams health departments on how to treat the patient.
A look at some of this morning’s headlines (translated from Arabic) provides more evidence of the level of concern.
Video and pictures .. a committee of "health" to follow the bird flu and queens
Sada El-Bald echo the country
While all of the cases reported so far appear to be the result of direct contact with infected birds - and there is no evidence of human-to-human spread - every human infection gives the virus another opportunity to better adapt to human physiology. Despite hundreds (perhaps thousands) of such opportunities, the virus remains poorly adapted to human physiology.
For now, H5N1 is primarily a threat to poultry, and to a lesser extent, those who work with, or come in close contract with, infected poultry.
The concern, of course, is that over time the virus will adapt further and someday pose a pandemic threat to humans.