NEWS SCAN: H5N1 case in Egypt, bird outbreak in India, debate in Indonesia

Jan 19, 2010

Egypt reports human H5N1 case, more bird infections
Egypt has identified its 91st human case of H5N1 avian influenza, according to a Jan 13 report by Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR), an Egypt-based project funded by the US Agency for International Development. The Egyptian health ministry said the case involves a 20-year-old woman from Beni Suef governorate who fell ill Jan 6, was hospitalized, and was reported to be in stable condition on Jan 13. Her family said she had had contact with sick and dead poultry. Meanwhile, Egypt's Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation today reported 17 detections of H5N1 cases in household birds in eight governorates, according to a separate SAIDR report. Officials said the number of findings was a result of the strengthening of passive surveillance in veterinary clinics.

H5N1 hits India's West Bengal state
Animal health officials in India confirmed an H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in backyard birds in three villages in the country's West Bengal state, according to a Jan 15 report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The outbreak, India's first since October 2009, killed 1,000 of about 80,000 susceptible birds in the three Murshidabad district villages. The remaining birds and those in a 3-kilometer radius around the area were culled to prevent the spread of the virus. The government will compensate owners for the poultry. Veterinary authorities are conducting intensive surveillance in areas within 10 kilometers of the outbreak site. They have also closed poultry markets in the area and have prohibited the sale and transport of birds. Investigators haven't yet determined the source of the virus. West Bengal is in eastern India near its border with Bangladesh.
Jan 15 OIE report

Indonesia's H5N1 status debated as outbreak reported
Health and agriculture officials in Indonesia say fewer H5N1 outbreaks in poultry may have decreased the number of infections in humans, but other experts say the risk has not changed and that the country's poultry surveillance system is weak, the United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reported yesterday. Indonesian Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih said there have been no human illnesses since November 2009, and Agus Wiyono, the agriculture ministry's director of animal health, said no major poultry outbreaks have occurred in 3 years. But Dr Chairil Nidom, a microbiologist at Airlangga University in Surabaya, Indonesia, said some poultry outbreaks have probably gone unreported and that the surveillance system is weak. A World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman told IRIN that the group's assessment of Indonesia's risk has not changed. The country leads the world in human H5N1 infections and deaths. The mixed assessments of Indonesia's risk came as veterinary officials in East Java reported that the virus recently struck chickens in a village, which led to the culling of 270 birds, Indonesia's Antara news agency reported today. Rapid-test results on 100 birds were positive, an official from Pamekasan regency's veterinary health office told the news service.
Jan 18 IRIN story
Jan 19 Antara story

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