Sunday, January 17, 2016

Egyptian MOH Statement: No Bird Flu Cases Since Last Summer


By this time last year, Egypt was embroiled in the largest outbreak of H5N1 human infection on record (see EID Dispatch: Increased Number Of Human H5N1 Infection – Egypt, 2014-15), and would soon stop publicly reporting on cases altogether (see Regarding The Silence Of The Egyptian MOH).

Last month in In The Land Of Limited Press Freedom, The Internet Rumor Is King, we looked what happens when local health officials are less than open about disease outbreaks.   

Over the past few weeks we've seen a constant stream of frantic Arabic media headlines announcing `Confirmed Bird Flu Cases', which are followed almost immediately by denials from health officials.  A couple of recent examples include:

«Bird flu» to end the life of Egyptian girl

Al-Qabas  - Jan 16, 2016    

Announced an Egyptian hospital death-old girl two years and a half as a result of being   infected with Pfirs bird flu, as has been the detention of her cousin under treatment. The results of the tests confirmed the child bird flu, after he came to the hospital in a degraded state suffer pneumonia twofold.

Health»: 15 suspected case of the avian influenza in North Sinai
Saturday, January 16, 2016 - 19:52

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health in northern Sinai, Dr. Tarek Khater, that the total pathological cases and suspected of having the flu emerging at the county level stood at 15 cases, and was placed under them treatment 8 cases in El-Arish General Hospital and 7 in the central Bir al-Abed Hospital

These media reports often confuse seasonal flu with bird flu, and continue to regard seasonal A/H1N1 as a highly dangerous pandemic `swine flu'.  Add in the vagaries of translation software, and you end up with a melange of dubious value.

While there have been numerous statements from officials denying bird flu cases appearing  in the media, the MOH website itself has been largely silent on the issue. At least until yesterday, when they posted the following long, reassuring statement, insisting there have been no bird flu (H5N1) cases reported in Egypt since last summer. 


In the official spokesman of the Ministry of health and population Dr. Sampath at the press conference held by the Ministry here Saturday by the National Institute for training in Abbasiya letter reassuring for citizens not to worry or fear from seasonal influenza Ah1n1, noting that Egypt has no epidemic outbreaks of the virus, stressing the adoption of all the measures, the Ministry and preventive measures necessary to confront and prevention, called on citizens to proper health methods in disease prevention and, in the case of the onset of symptoms is consult Doctor or go to the nearest hospital.

Dr. said Mohamed Awad tageldin, former Health Minister Professor of respiratory diseases, contagious viral disease influenza, there is a difference between flu and colds since cold symptoms is simple and its nose only flu symptoms, your entire body with high temperatures and infect the upper respiratory tract and lower, and noted that the most serious complications of influenza infection is pneumonia.

He thanked all the viruses and chest hospitals operating in receiving influenza cases and provide treatment and medical care.

He explained that the more serious categories are children less than 5 years and older persons click 65 General and thoracic sensitivity ill, pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding, chronic diseases heart, kidney and diabetes, and those with weak immune systems, such as organ transplantation.

He advised the most susceptible to influenza virus infection to receive vaccinations each year for cases with weak immune and above, and washing hands down, good ventilation, and consult your physician in cases of high temperatures.

Dr. said Underwood, head of the preventive medicine, Ministry of health and population during the press conference, it was suspected the number 1037 if bird flu since June 2015 until now, where all came negative for bird flu, confirmed the absence of any confirmed human cases of infection with the bird flu virus in Egypt since June 2015, and that winter this year completely free of bird flu so far, they have not recorded any cases of injury or death Until now.

Qandil, confirmed once again the absence of so-called alkhnair flu virus now infects humans, as this was the most commonly used title in 2009 when the global influenza pandemic, since 2010 the World Health Organization announced the end of the pandemic, the virus causing the pandemic has same epidemiology of seasonal influenza viruses since then was put into viruses involved in seasonal influenza vaccination.

Underwood said that seasonal influenza virus H1N1-type is prevalent during the current influenza season at global, regional and national level and is from seasonal influenza, which is monitored in Egypt and respond to treatment with the drug tamiflu and is the same type of viruses within the taste of existing seasonal flu.
(Continue . . . )

Given the Egyptian MOH's past obfuscation of bird flu reports, and the media's penchant for prematurely calling any severe respiratory illness a `suspected bird flu', I wouldn't care to wager any money on what is really going on in Egypt.  

I'm not blogging individual media reports because my level of confidence in them is so low.   

But since Egypt has been a perennial hot spot for avian flu, I continue to monitor it - as do other Flublogians (i.e. Crof, FluTrackers, etc.) - and if something credible emerges, you can be certain we'll write about it.