Although Egypt’s Ministry of Health stopped publicly announcing YTD case count figures more than a month ago (when the 2015’s total sat at 21 cases & 6 deaths), media reports, announcements from local Governorates, and the occasional MOH update continue to show up, giving us a rough idea of the number of cases to date.
Keeping track of this – as well as is possible – is Sharon Sanders of FluTrackers, whose conservatively curated Egypt - 2015 WHO/MoH/Provincial Health Depts H5N1 Confirmed Case List now shows 71 cases for the year, and 19 deaths.
Previously, Egypt’s biggest H5N1 year was 2011, with 39 cases and 15 deaths (2009 also had 39 cases, but only 4 fatalities). Since this outbreak began in November, Egypt appears to have generated nearly 100 new cases.
Meaning that roughly 1/3rd of all of Egypt’s H5N1 cases reported since 2006 have occurred over the past 4 months.
While a troubling trend, thus far we’ve not seen any evidence to suggest the H5N1 virus is transmitting efficiently from person-to-person, and the primary risk of infection continues to be from direct contact with infected birds.
While carefully avoiding any mention of the growing case count, the Egyptian media reports new initiatives to tackle this crisis on practically a daily basis.
Declarations of local bird flu `emergencies’ are common, as are promises of massive poultry vaccination programs, and new public awareness campaigns. First, three stories from today’s news which illustrate these points, then I’ll be back with a bit more.
February 25, 2015 1:55:33 pm June first 6 1436
Since: 39 minutes 0.16 seconds
Minya: Abdulhamid Juma
Engineered Amira Abdel Fattah, director general of the Department of Women Affairs General Diwan of the province of Minya said the administration began implementing awareness of rural women and cattle breeders about bird flu and foot and mouth disease throughout the three-week campaign in collaboration with the Directorate of Veterinary Medicine and the Health and endowments.
She added that the campaign include public meetings to number 43 unit village along meetings include symptoms that afflict poultry as a result of HIV infection and symptoms that appear on the human patient and methods of prevention and treatment and prevention of immune and therapeutic procedures as well as the handling of the religious side of the importance of personal hygiene and environmental conservation .
She stressed that this campaign comes in the context of creating a kind of communication with the cattle breeders and bird and rural women and raise awareness of safe have in education
Wednesday 25-02-2015 | 12: 13
Announced that the Department of Health Sharqia , on Wednesday, state of emergency in all hospitals after the injury status eleven bird flu virus.
Dr. Khaled Fawzi, director of preventive medicine and basic care, Directorate of Health Sharqia , today, the high incidence of bird flu virus to 11 cases after injuring a child is year old and 9 months of Kafr ecstasy in the city of Minya wheat, samples were withdrawn from his contacts to make sure no injury.
He Fawzi that he was out of 9 cases of the injured were booked two cases fever hospital in Zagazig even continued recovery.
Agriculture" facing epidemic diseases produce 220 million doses of vaccine Snuya..otab Preventive: high spots of avian influenza to 208 25 400 Mhafezh..otstaan medical team to follow up the 500 million domestic breeding bird
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 8:01 D. Adel El-Beltagy, Minister of Agriculture D. Adel El-Beltagy, Minister of Agriculture Ezz wrote Nubian Ministry of Agriculture began represented in serum and vaccine institute under the Ministry of Agriculture and the General Authority for Veterinary Services, urgent operational plan for the protection of livestock and poultry from epidemic diseases, especially that produced 25% of the agricultural production depends on productive livestock and poultry, to intensify their production of vaccine avian influenza and foot and mouth disease to 220 million doses per year, and the implementation of the instructions of the Supreme Committee for the fight against bird flu through a central room of the directorates of Veterinary Medicine execution of infected birds healthy and safe disposal.
On Sunday, in Egypt H5N1: Poultry Losses Climbing, Prices Up 25%, we looked at the impact that H5N1 is having on their poultry industry, and reports that a growing number of outbreaks are occurring among vaccinated poultry. This raises questions over the effectiveness of the bird flu vaccines currently in use.
As we’ve seen in China (see EID Journal: Subclinical HPAI In Vaccinated Poultry – China), Indonesia (see Debate Over Poultry Vaccination), and previously in Egypt (see A Paltry Poultry Vaccine), poultry vaccines must be updated frequently in order to cope with drifted (and often multiple clades) of avian flu.
In 2012’s Do commercial avian influenza H5 vaccines induce cross-reactive antibodies against contemporary H5N1 viruses in Egypt?, researchers tested six commercial poultry vaccines in use in Egypt, and found that only one appeared protective.
They warned: Special consideration should be given to the vaccination strategy, and the use of vaccines based on currently circulating viruses is advisable.
The problem has been that while even poorly matched vaccines can often protect poultry against illness - with increasingly diverse and rapidly evolving avian flu viruses - they cannot always prevent infection. The end result being that subclinical infections can go undetected, viruses continue to circulate, and new variants or reassortants continue to emerge.
The OIE has repeatedly warned that vaccines should be a short-term solution to a country’s avian flu problem (see OIE: Countries That Vaccinate Poultry Need An `Exit Strategy'), but few countries seem capable of finding their way to that fabled `exit’.
For a closer look at why nations find it so difficult to move away from poultry vaccines, you may wish to revisit Food Insecurity, Economics, And The Control Of H7N9.