Egypt announces new avian influenza case

The Ministry of Health of Egypt recently announced a new confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A, also known as H5N1.

The new case, a 38-year-old woman from Ismailia Governorate, developed symptoms on March 1 and was hospitalized six days later. When the woman died on March 11, she was in critical a condition and had been placed under artificial ventilation, according to the World Health Organization.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the woman became infected after being exposed to poultry suspected of having avian flu.

The Egyptian Central Public Health Library, a National Influenza Center of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network confirmed the case.

There have been 130 confirmed cases of avian flu in Egypt to date. Of those, 44 have been fatal. Indonesia remains ahead of the rest of the world in H5N1 cases and deaths. Egypt led the world in cases in 2010.

The patient profile of new Egyptian cases is somewhat different from the typical pattern of the past few years. Women and children, the groups with the most contact with poultry in Egypt, have been hit the hardest overall, but lately men have been suffering as well, according to CIDRAP News

According to reports about poultry H5N1 outbreaks posted on Egypt's Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response website, detections were sporadic in the early weeks of February as a result of political unrest. Animal health officials, however, appear to have resumed their surveillance activities, along with their outbreak response duties.