Apr 20, 2009 (CIDRAP News) - Egypt's state media reported two new H5N1 avian influenza infections within 2 days of each other, in a 25-year-old woman and an 18-month girl.
The state-run paper Al Ahram, quoting the country's health ministry, reported on Apr 17 that the woman is from Qalubia governorate and was hospitalized in critical condition, according to report from Agence France-Presse.
The woman is 33 weeks pregnant and began experiencing a fever and cough on Apr 6, according to an Apr 17 report from Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR), an Egypt-based project funded by the US Agency for International Development. She was admitted to a Cairo hospital on Apr 11 and received oseltamivir (Tamiflu) 6 day later when her H5N1 infection was confirmed. The woman's family reported she had close contact with sick poultry.
Two days later MENA, Egypt's state news agency, said the baby girl was hospitalized after having contact with infected birds and that she was treated immediately with oseltamivir (Tamiflu), Reuters reported today.
The girl is from Kafr el-Sheikh, the same province as another of Egypt's recent H5N1 case-patients, a 33-year-old woman who was in critical condition, according to an Apr 17 report from the WHO. On Apr 15 agriculture officials confirmed an H5N1 outbreak in backyard birds in Kafr el-Sheikh, according to a report from SAIDR.
If the World Health Organization confirms the cases in the 25-year-old and the 18-month-old, Egypt's H5N1 count will increase to 66 cases, of which 23 have been fatal.
So far this year, Egypt has had 15 H5N1 cases, including the two latest ones, outpacing all other countries in 2009. However, none of the cases have been fatal. The preponderance of cases in children—only four patients have been adults—and number of new human cases have raised global speculation about possible subclinical cases or a change in the H5N1 virus in Egypt that might have made the virus more transmissible but somewhat less lethal.
It was reported last week that the WHO planned to send a team to Egypt to investigate the avian flu situation there. Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the WHO, told CIDRAP News that because of holiday observances in Egypt, the WHO team just left for that country today.