Mike Coston is the Owner/Editor of Avian Flu Diary

Egypt’s Ministry of Health has been less than enthusiastic about publicly releasing details on their (now historic) H5N1 outbreak, and updates have only sporadically appeared (without YTD totals) on their website since late January.

They have even publicly downplayed a study that appeared last week in the Journal Eurosurveillance (see Emergence Of A Novel Cluster of H5N1 Clade – denying that any changes have appeared in the virus now circulating in Egypt (see A spokesman for the “health”: There is no genetic mutation of the bird flu virus Sunday, April 5, 2015)


Although it has been more than a month since the last World Health Organization H5N1 update, we continue to get updates from the FAO, and often difficult to decipher media reports, that that have allowed Sharon Sanders of FluTrackers to keep some semblance of an H5N1 cases list.

Today the FAO has published (scant) details on 7 new H5N1 cases (listed below) which increase the total in FluTrackersEgypt – 2015 WHO/MoH/Provincial Health Depts H5N1 Confirmed Case List to 135 cases since January 1st.

Fatalities, which are less often reported by the media and the FAO, hover around 40 – although that number is probably low and will be adjusted in future WHO updates.   This from today’s FAO RSS Feed.

  1. Confirmed Influenza – Avian in Giza, for human
  2. Confirmed Influenza – Avian in Suhag, for human
  3. Confirmed Influenza – Avian in Suhag, for human
  4. Confirmed Influenza – Avian in Kalyoubia, for human
  5. Confirmed Influenza – Avian in Kafr El-Shikh, for human
  6. Confirmed Influenza – Avian in Shrkia, for human
  7. Confirmed Influenza – Avian in Shrkia, for human

As with Avian flu in China, Vietnam, and elsewhere, only the `sickest of the sick’ generally show up at hospitals, and end up tested and counted.   How many `mild’ cases (or misdiagnosed severe cases) there might be is unknown.

While we’ve not seen any evidence of increased or efficient human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus in Egypt, it is concerning that this outbreak has now gone on for five full months, and that in excess of 160 people have been infected.

This is – by far – the largest and longest human outbreak of H5N1 we’ve seen.

So we continue to keep a close watch on Egypt for any signs that the virus, or its behavior, has begun to change.