Apr 21, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today recognized eight human cases of H5N1 avian influenza previously reported in Egypt, pushing the global case count to 204, with 113 deaths.
The Egyptian government has been reporting a total of 12 human cases, but until today the WHO had listed only 4 cases in Egypt.
Egypt's health ministry classifies cases as confirmed when samples test positive in the country's national public health laboratory and the US Naval Medical Research Unit 3 in Cairo, the WHO said.
All the cases confirmed in those two labs have now been validated by the WHO's collaborating lab in Britain, the agency said.
Of the 12 Egyptians who suffered H5N1 infections, four have died and one remains hospitalized in stable condition, the WHO said, adding, "Seven patients have fully recovered and been discharged from hospital."
The agency also noted today Egypt's latest death from avian flu, that of an 18-year-old woman from the northern governorate of Menufiyah. Her death was reported by the news media a week ago.
In other developments, a WHO official in Indonesia today rejected a report of a possible H5N1 case cluster in eight members of one family.
An Apr 19 story in the Jakarta Post said a couple and three of their children had been hospitalized in Bandarlampung with suspected avian flu. The story also said two other children had died of the illness earlier and still another had been receiving treatment since before the parents were hospitalized.
But in a note posted on ProMED-mail today, Graham Tallis, a WHO medical epidemiologist in Indonesia, said the report contained inaccuracies. "The Ministry of Health may report more fully, but in brief, the full investigation has ruled out H5 as a cause of illness in this cluster in Lampung," he wrote.
Meanwhile, a report from Sudan, published yesterday by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), offered some details on the first avian flu outbreaks in poultry there. The report says the disease killed 62,000 poultry on two farms and caused the loss of another 3,400 to illness and culling at a third farm.
The report says the country's Central Veterinary Research Laboratory identified the virus only as an H5. It adds that planned control measures include vaccination, along with culling, quarantine, movement restrictions, and biosecurity steps.
Another report published yesterday by the OIE says that Jordan has gone for 3 weeks without finding any more infected poultry. In submitting their report to the OIE on Apr 16, Jordanian officials described it as their "final report." Jordan's first H5N1 outbreak in poultry was announced Mar 24.
In Pakistan today, authorities confirmed that a disease outbreak on a farm near Islamabad was H5N1, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report. Authorities had reported the outbreak earlier and culled 15,000 birds there.
In addition, officials took samples at more than two dozen other farms near the affected one and found five more suspected outbreaks, AFP reported. Chickens on those farms have already been destroyed, an official said.
In France, two more wild swans have been found infected with H5N1, according to another AFP report. The birds were found in the Ain region in east-central France, where all but one of the country's 64 infected swans have turned up. One French poultry farm, also in Ain, has been hit by the virus.
Apr 21 WHO statement on human cases in Egypt