Egypt has reported 356 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) since March 2006, including 121 deaths, according to The World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region Office (EMRO).

During the first nine months of 2016, 10 cases have been reported. Four of the patients died from the dangerous viral disease.

As Avian Flu Diary notes:

Although Egypt leads the world with 356 H5N1 cases, that number must be taken with a sizable grain of salt, as only the `sickest of the sick’ are ever hospitalized and tested for the virus.

We know that H5N1 can sometimes present with mild or moderate symptoms, and so the assumption is some unknown number of cases go uncounted.

Although only 10 cases reported this year is heartening – between a largely silent MOH, a government clamp down on reporting by the Arabic press, and limited surveillance and testing – the true scope of Egypt’s avian flu problem remains largely unknown.

H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza (or “bird flu”). Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from 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 close contact 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.


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