Dec 16, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Egypt's health ministry has announced that a 16-year-old girl died of an H5N1 avian influenza infection, the country's first human case in about 8 months, according to a report today from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The girl died at Assiut University Hospital yesterday in central Egypt's Asyut governorate, the WHO reported. She got sick on Dec 8 and was admitted 3 days later to a district hospital before she was transferred to the university facility on Dec 13. She becomes Egypt's 51st H5N1 case and its 23rd death.
She became ill after exposure to sick and dead poultry in her household, the WHO report said. The girl is from a village near the city of Asyut, the governorate's capital, Xinhua, China's state news agency, reported today.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing by Egypt's Central Public Health Laboratory on the girl's samples was positive for the H5N1 virus, and the findings were confirmed yesterday by the US Naval Medical Research Unit 3 in Cairo, according to the WHO.
Egypt's last H5N1 case was reported in mid April when a 2-year-old boy became ill after having contact with sick and dead poultry, according to previous reports.
Animal health experts have said that the H5N1 virus is endemic in Egypt's poultry. The country has the most human avian influenza cases outside of the Asian countries that have been hardest hit by the virus.
The girl's death brings the WHO's global H5N1 count to 391 cases and 247 deaths.
Dec 16 WHO statement
Apr 18 CIDRAP News story "Boy's illness raises Egypt's H5N1 count to 50"