NEWS SCAN: H5N1 cases in Vietnam and Egypt, global malaria guidance, meningococcal disease

Apr 24, 2009

Vietnamese woman dies of H5N1 infection
Vietnam's health ministry announced today that a 23-year-old woman from the northern part of the country died on Apr 22 from an H5N1 avian influenza infection, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Officials said they haven't determined the source of her infection. If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms her illness and death, it will bring the country's official H5N1 toll to 111 cases and 56 deaths.

Egypt reports H5N1 death, new case
Egypt's news agency, quoting the country's health ministry, reported an H5N1 avian influenza death in a previously reported patient and a new H5N1 infection in 34-year-old woman from a town north of Cairo, according to reports today from Agence France-Presse (AFP). A 33-year-old woman from Kafr el-Sheikh governorate, previously reported as Egypt's 64th case, died today, the country's third H5N1 death this week. She was hospitalized on Apr 15, received oseltamivir (Tamiflu) the same day, and had been listed in critical condition. Meanwhile, the ministry said Egypt's latest case, the 34-year-old woman, was hospitalized on Apr 21 with a high fever and is in stable condition after receiving oseltamivir. She reportedly had close contact with infected poultry before she got sick. If the WHO confirms the death and new case, Egypt's total will rise to 69 H5N1 cases, 25 of which have been fatal.

Global group releases malaria control guidance
The Malaria Elimination Group, a global body of researchers, policy experts, and country program managers, today announced the release of new guidance on malaria eradication, according to a press release from the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF). The guidance consists of two documents, one intended as a roadmap for frontline workers and the other a policy digest for policymakers. The group will unveil the documents tomorrow in Geneva in conjunction with World Malaria Day. In other developments, the WHO reported that the largest-ever evaluation of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria revealed that they vary widely, with some detecting even low parasitic densities in blood samples, while others only able to detect parasites at high densities. The WHO said the findings will help countries make informed choices among the dozens of commercially available diagnostic tests.
[Apr 24 UCSF press release]
[Apr 24 WHO press release]

More than 100 suspected meningococcal deaths in Chad
In an update of a meningococcal disease outbreak in Chad, the country's health ministry said that, as of Apr 5, there have been 922 suspected cases and 105 deaths from the disease since Dec 29, the WHO reported yesterday. Illnesses have exceeded the epidemic threshold in three districts, including a district in the capital, N'Djamena.
[Apr 23 WHO statement]

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