UPDATED: 1200 hrs - Now a handful of Arabic media reports are stating these 11 patients have - not surprisingly - tested `negative' for avian flu (Link). Hopefully we'll get an official statement - one way or the other - from the MOH.
Since their winter 2014-2015 record setting H5N1 epidemic (160+ cases in 6 months) Egypt has become chronically closed-mouthed about their bird flu situation, rarely confirming cases publicly (see last month's Egypt: Peering Down The Rabbit Hole).
Despite heavy state control, in recent months we've seen a `push back' by some news media sites, with some openly criticizing the lack of responsiveness of the MOH.
As a result, we are starting to see more `suspected' bird flu cases reported by the press, although the reliability of these reports is far from certain. Rarely are these reports acknowledged, or confirmed, by the government.
It is likely that many of these reports involve other, far more mundane illnesses. Some may be made up out of whole cloth simply to generate headlines (or discredit the government).
But, as we saw in the winter-spring of 2015, sometimes these reports are genuine. Even when their MOH is silent.
With all of these caveats in mind, over the past hour or two Egypt's Arabic press has gone semi-ballistic over an (unconfirmed) report of 11 people hospitalized - suspected of avian flu infection - all from a village near Qalioub city, Qaliubiya.
While the translation is somewhat syntax challenged, all 11 cases appear to come from the same household, and two appear to have tested positive via preliminary tests. Exactly what tests were performed is not stated.
Suspected Cases of Bird Flu in a Citizen Qalioub
Qaliubiya - Radwa Shafei
6-4-2017 | 14:40
Fever Hospital received Qalioub city, province Qaliubiya, 11 cases suspected of having bird flu, all from the village of Remada city Bakljub.
It announced the Directorate of Health in a state of emergency in the hospital, and summoned specialized medical teams that have pulled samples from patients for analysis in central laboratories to make sure the injury or lack thereof, and conducted a comprehensive survey of the focus of infection in the village to make sure that there are no suspected cases of new.
As the hospital management process to isolate suspected cases through the isolation section and take all necessary preventive measures where preliminary information indicates that home education for birds behind the suspected cases.
He visited Dr. Hamdi cook, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health and Qalyoubia Mustafa Bayoumi, head of the city Qalioub Fever Hospital Qalioub to check on cases and provide full care for the injured.
Cook said he decided to book all cases under observation for 24 hours, indicating that we have nine suspected cases, and two cases according to the results of the preliminary analysis.
He added that the health systems which surveyed 10 neighboring houses of the house in which the injury appeared and no injuries appear, explaining that the cause of the injuries are home breeding birds and suspected cases of injury, all from one family, stressing that the health situation in the village is reassuring and very cases confined to the house that appeared by injury
Another, shorter version of the story reads:
Thursday 06 / April / 2017 - 14:25
Qalioub City (aka Qalyub) is a modest sized city (100K) in the northern part of the Cairo metropolitan area.
While there's a pretty good chance this will turn out to be something other than bird flu, the reporting in the Arabic press this morning is insistent enough to warrant a post. So far in 2017, Egypt has only confirmed two H5N1 cases.
A quick check of the Egyptian MOH website finds no mention of this outbreak. Hopefully we'll get more information on this in the next day or so.