World Notes: Avian Influenza (H5N1) in Egypt – Situation Critical

Cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) are surging in Egypt. Last year Egypt recorded 39 human cases of H5N1, a vast jump over eight cases in 2008. Four new cases were reported this month, bringing the country’s case count to 94. Of these, 27 have been fatal. These numbers position Egypt just behind Indonesia and Vietnam as third highest in the world for reported human cases and fatalities.

A statistical analysis recently published in Eurosurveillance described the situation
in Egypt as “critical.” The study looked at 85 cases reported to the World Health Organization over a timeframe spanning March 2006 to August 2009.

KEY findings and concerns were:

According to CIDRAP the rise in H5N1 human cases in Egypt mirrors a spike of poultry infections in the country.  However, agricultural practices and public perceptions of risk are contributing to the problem. The government does not compensate for destroyed poultry and farmers perceive little risk from handling it.

Last April, Egyptian authorities ordered the mass culling of 400K pigs in an effort
to control swine flu, which is at elevated levels in the country. With H5N1 and H1N1 in co-circulation, this raises the potential for coinfections and virus reassortment.

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Tea Forte Cocktail Infusions

CIDRAP: Egypt reports four new H5N1 infections
Eurosurveillance: Volume 15, Issue 4, 28 January 2010, Surveillance and outbreak reports, Avian influenza A(H5N1) in humans: lessons from Egypt
ProMed: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza, human (07): Egypt, case analysis
AVIAN INFLUENZA, HUMAN (07): EGYPT, CASE ANALYSIS

Reuters: Egypt starts pig slaughter, some farmers resist
WHO: Avian influenza – situation in Egypt – update 27

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  2. […] Flu watchers understandably keep an anxious eye on hot-zone countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and Egypt where H5N1 (avian flu) and H1N1 are in co-circulation, carrying potential for a pathogenic virus […]