The World Health Organization (WHO), in a report Mar. 21, says the number of avian influenza A (H5N1) cases in Egypt stands at 116, including 36 deaths for the period of 1 January to 17 March 2015. This accounts for 36 percent of the total H5N1 avian influenza cases reported in Egypt since 2006.
Since it was first reported in March 2006, a total of 318 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1), including 112 related deaths (case–fatality rate = 35.2%) have been reported in Egypt.
Since its introduction in Egypt, avian influenza A (H5N1) virus has been circulating in domestic poultry in the country and has been the source of sporadic human infections. Almost all cases of H5N1 infection in humans have been associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments.
Though the number of cases reported is higher compared to last year, the increase in the number of cases does not change current risk status of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus that is currently circulating at the animal-human interface in the country.
From 8 to 12 March 2015, a joint high-level mission was conducted in Egypt comprising of representatives of WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Organisation for Animal Health, US Naval Medical Unit-3 and UNICEF on the current H5N1 situation in Egypt and understand the current and future risks of transmission of the currently circulating avian influenza viruses.
The mission reviewed the effectiveness of the recent and ongoing disease control measures implemented by both the human and animal health sectors, as well as assessed gaps in disease control policies and strategies. Recommendations were presented to the Ministry of Health and Population following conclusion of the mission.
In addition to Egypt, China has reported three human avian influenza A (H5N1) cases so far in 2015.