Monday, April 20, 2015

FAO Reports 6 More Egyptian H5N1 Cases



# 9960


While the Egyptian MOH has pretty much abandoned even mentioning H5N1 on their website, and the local media tries not to stray too far from the `official’ line, we continue to see evidence ongoing human infections, although the rate of new case reports seems to have slowed somewhat over the past few  weeks.

The thoroughness of surveillance, testing, and reporting are issues that plague all disease outbreaks, and so it is impossible to state with certainty just how many people have been – and continue to be – infected with the avian flu virus in Egypt.  

The last `official’ WHO H5N1 Update For Egypt – Thru March 31st listed 125 cases and 33 deaths, but since then we saw an update from the FAO (on 04/08) adding 7 additional cases.


Today the FAO has listed 6 more human cases on their RSS feed.  

  1. Confirmed Influenza - Avian in Behera, for human
  2. Confirmed Influenza - Avian in Behera, for human
  3. Confirmed Influenza - Avian in Behera, for human
  4. Confirmed Influenza - Avian in Damietta, for human
  5. Confirmed Influenza - Avian in Qena, for human
  6. Confirmed Influenza - Avian in Kafr El-Shikh, for human


Doing her best to keep track of all of this is Sharon Sanders at FluTrackers, who curates their Egypt - 2015 WHO/MoH/Provincial Health Depts H5N1 Confirmed Case List.  Based on the information currently available, Sharon conservatively shows 143 cases in Egypt since the 1st of January.


Three times more than Egypt has ever previously reported, and more than double the number that any country has ever reported in a single year.


The recent slowdown in case reports – if indeed, that is the case – would not be totally unexpected, as  avian flu transmission tends to decline as the weather warms. 

But the caveat here is - out of these last 6 cases  - 2 were observed in late March and the newest was observed on April 7th.  With reports running two, three, or even more weeks behind it is too soon to celebrate any decline in case reports.


Although we’ve not seen any evidence of increased or efficient human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus in Egypt, it is worrisome that this outbreak has now gone on for five full months, and nearly 180 people have been infected.

To put that into some kind of perspective, Egypt – with a population 1/16th that of China - has racked up nearly as many H5N1 human cases over the past 6 months (180) as has China with H7N9 (200).

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