Egypt reported some 160 human cases of H5N1 avian influenza during 2014-2015, by far the most cases the country ever reported.

H5N1 avian influenza Image/Cynthia Goldsmith/ Jackie Katz
H5N1 avian influenza
Image/Cynthia Goldsmith/ Jackie Katz

On Monday, the FAO/EMPRES reported on the first case in 2016, according to an Avian Flu Diary report published today. Very little information is available other than the case was reported from Sohag, Akhmem District and an observation date of Feb. 25.

The number of confirmed cases in Egypt since 2003 now stands at 347 and the global total is now 847.

H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza (or “bird flu”). Humancases ofH5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infectionfrom person to person. When people do become infected, the mortality rate is about 60%.

Almost all cases of H5N1 infection in people have been associated with closecontact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments. The virus does not infect humans easily, and spread from person to person appears to be unusual. There is no evidence that thedisease can be spread to people through properly prepared and thoroughly cooked food.