|Overview of H5N1 in Egypt as of March 2016. Click here to view|
Overnight the World Health Organization's EMRO (Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office) has published a brief update on Egypt's H5N1 situation as of March 31st.
While the text of this short report offers little in the way of new information, the accompanying infographic (above) provides a very nice 10-year snap-shot of H5N1's impact in Egypt (with an emphasis on 2014-2016)
After a record breaking winter and spring of 2014-15, where more than 160 human H5N1 cases were reported (see EID Journal: H5N1 In Egypt), reports of H5N1 dropped markedly starting last summer, with only 4 cases reported in 2016.
Exactly what accounts for this precipitous drop in avian flu cases since last summer, or how long this trend will continue, is far from clear.
Avian influenza A(H5N1) update, 31 March 2016
15 April 2016 – An upsurge of human infections with the highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus was recorded in Egypt during the 2014–2015 winter season but no change in transmission pattern of infection was observed.
- 350 cumulative cases of human avian influenza A (H5N1) and 117 deaths (case–fatality rate 33%) were reported from Egypt as of 24 March 2016. 4 newly confirmed human H5N1 avian influenza cases were reported from Cairo, Giza and Sohag governorates in the first quarter of 2016.
- Djibouti and Iraq reported only 4 cases (with 2 deaths) of human avian influenza A (H5N1) in 2006.
3 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H9N2) virus were reported from Egypt, and cases were detected through influenza-like illness/severe acute respiratory infection sentinel surveillance.
The majority of recently reported human avian influenza A(H5N1) virus cases in Egypt were associated with exposure to infected live poultry or contaminated environments.
Surveillance has been enhanced in Egypt to detect human infections if they occur and to detect early changes in transmissibility and infectivity of the viruses.
Support and technical advice were extended to Ministry of Health in Egypt in outbreak investigation, training and provision of laboratory equipment and linkages with WHO collaborating centres for shipment of samples.