Mike Coston is the Owner/Editor of Avian Flu Diary


The Egyptian Ministry of Health has posted details on two additional H5N1 cases – both with onsets in late December –  which raises Egypt’s 2014 tally to 29 cases.

  • The first is a 6 year-old girl from Giza, who is listed in critical condition.  It isn’t stated whether this case has any link to the 3 year-old announced yesterday (see Egyptian MOH Announces Their 27th H5N1 Case Of 2014), also from Giza.
  • A second case, is reported from Menofia – that of a 45-year-old man who is reportedly on a respiratory.

Given inevitable delays in testing and reporting, it is possible we’ll see additional cases reported over the next few days that will still fall into 2014’s totals.  Although still less than Egypt’s 2011 total of 39 bird flu cases, over the past 6 weeks the pace of new cases (roughly 1 every 2 days) has far exceeded anything we’ve seen before out of that part of the world.

Most of these cases appear to have resulted from direct contact with infected birds, and so far, we’ve no reports to suggest human-to-human transmission.

Why we are seeing this spike in cases now – after two years during which time only 8 cases were reported – isn’t clear.  Better surveillance and reporting may account for some of it, and winter is the time of year we expect to see more cases, but it is possible something has changed on the ground or with the virus as well.

Health: central laboratory analysis results confirm positive infection status of Giza, monofiya case بڤيروس N5H1

Central laboratory analysis results confirmed by the Ministry of health and population of infection of bird flu بڤيروس N5H1 girl 6 years of Giza-where was suffering from the heat – cough, and the patient went on 28/12/2014 to viruses of the Abbasid and the chest x-ray showed pneumonia, was suspected in the case of avian influenza on 28/12/2014, has emerged as a result of the sample positive for the bird flu virus in Central Labs on 30/12/2014, the general condition of the patient is critical.

The results also confirmed infected بڤيروس N5H1 for man 45 years old-governorate of monofyia-Center ashmun hospital booked viruses Shibin date 29/12/2014 pneumonia and suspected flu and his health deteriorated and was placed in intensive care on a respirator.

Bringing the total number of cases of bird flu by 2014, 29 cases (12 cases healing, 6 cases under treatment, 11 deaths).

Therefore calls upon the Ministry of health and population of citizens who handle poultry to go immediately to the nearest hospital to receive health service if they have flu symptoms, where the infected bird flu drug Tamiflu within the first 24 hours of the onset of symptoms increases the healing rates of disease and reduces the mortality and Health Ministry advised people who deal with poultry to be careful and prudent when dealing with birds that show symptoms of the disease and the need to take preventive action to prevent such infection cover The mouth and nose when handling poultry, wash hands with SOAP and water after handling birds and children not accompany poultry or slaughter premises as well as the need to separate from living birds.

H5N1 avian influenza/CDC
H5N1 avian influenza/CDC

For now, the H5N1 virus remains primarily a threat to poultry and people who have close contact with infected birds.  Human infections with the H5N1 virus – though rare – are always a concern:

  • Because of the high fatality rate among known cases
  • And because each time the virus jumps from its normal (avian) host to a human (or other mammal), it gives it another opportunity to adapt and change.

Despite hundreds (perhaps thousands) of such opportunities to date, the virus remains poorly adapted to human physiology.  It can produce severe illness – even death – but only rarely is transmitted from one person to another.

The concern is that over time a better adapted version of this virus could emerge and perhaps pose a pandemic threat to humans.  So we watch these outbreaks closely, looking for any signs of change in the behavior of the virus.

For more great blogging on bird flu and other infectious disease topics, check out Avian Flu Diary