Avian flu back in Egypt and Asian countries

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The World Health Organisation – the WHO – has reported the death of a young woman in Egypt due to the avian flu virus (H5N1). The WHO has also reported new cases of infection in a number of Asian countries.

The Egyptian victim, 30, died from the infection only a day after being admitted to hospital.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in a statement said that “an investigation into the sources of the infection has revealed that the young woman had been in contact with sick or dead poultry”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) this week confirmed four H5N1 avian influenza cases in Egypt, three of which had been previously reported in the media, and added new details about the patients’ medical care and exposure to poultry.


A 56 year-old female from Sharkia governorate. She developed symptoms on 22 December, was hospitalized on 23 December and received treatment with oseltamivir. She was discharged from the hospital on 30 December 2010 in a stable condition. No information is available regarding poultry exposure. Investigations into the source of infection are underway.

A 25 year-old female from Qena Governorate. She developed symptoms on 19 December 2010 and was admitted in the hospital on 27 December 2010 and died on 29 December 2010. Case investigation revealed that she had contact with poultry.

A 27 year-old male from Ismailia Governorate. He developed symptoms on 23 December 2010 and was admitted to hospital on 28 December 2010. He is still under treatment in the hospital. No information is available regarding poultry exposure. Investigations into the source of infection are underway.

A 40 year-old male from Dakahlia Governorate. He developed symptoms on 25 December 2010 and was admitted to hospital on 30 December 2010. He died on 2nd January 2011. He had contact with poultry.

Affected countries

This brings to 40 the number of deaths from bird flu in Egypt since 2003. Reports also say the newly confirmed cases raise the northern African country’s H5N1 total to 119 cases.

And while Indonesia is still believed to lead the world in H5N1 cases and deaths, “Egypt has now tied with Vietnam for the second highest number of cases. Vietnam, however, has recorded 59 H5N1 deaths, compared to Egypt’s 40″, states CIDRAP

The WHO has also confirmed a case of avian flu in Hong Kong, despite the disease’s disappearance in the Asian country after 2003. The patient, a woman aged 59, is believed to have returned from a trip to mainland China.

And although fearful that the disease might spread throughout the region, the country’s health authorities insist that there was “no sign of an epidemic”.

Since the emergence of the H5N1 virus, otherwise known as the swine flu, in Egypt, 119 cases have been confirmed and 40 have proved fatal.

The north African country remains one of the 3 most affected globally, along with Indonesia and Vietnam. China has also reported 2 cases whilst Cambodia has reported only one case.

Globally, the WHO has reported 516 cases of avian flu in humans, of which 306 have proved fatal, giving a lethality level of 60% since 2003

Health file  The lack of education and political will, poverty, out-moded traditional beliefs, to mention but a few, have been widely blamed for causing severe and sometimes unwarranted health catastrophies of genocidal proportions on the African continent. Child killer diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, water borne diseases, HIV/AIDS, among other preventable ailments have killed millions in their wake. As rightly said by the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on May 13, 2000 "More people (...) died of Aids in the past year (1999-2000, ndlr) in Africa than in all the wars on the continent".
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