Jan 5, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed four H5N1 avian influenza cases in Egypt, three of which had been previously reported in the media, and added new details about the patients' medical care and exposure to poultry.
The patient whose H5N1 case had not been previously reported is a 56-year-old woman from Sharkia governorate who got sick on Dec 22 and was hospitalized the next day and treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu). She was discharged on Dec 30 in stable condition, the WHO reported. No information on her exposure to poultry is available, and a probe into the source of her infection is underway.
The WHO's confirmation of the previously reported patients includes:
- A 25-year-old woman from Qena governorate who became ill on Dec 19, was hospitalized on Dec 27, and died on Dec 29. An investigation found she had contact with poultry.
- A 27-year-old man from Ismailia governorate who got sick on Dec 23 and has been hospitalized since Dec 28. No information was available on his exposure to poultry, and an investigation into the source of his illness is ongoing.
- A 40-year-old man from Dakahlia governorate who came down with symptoms on Dec 25, was admitted to the hospital on Dec 30, and died on Jan 2. Authorities found that he had contact with poultry.
The newly confirmed cases raise Egypt's H5N1 total to 119 cases, including 40 deaths. Indonesia still leads the world in H5N1 cases and deaths, but Egypt has now tied with Vietnam for the second highest number of cases. Vietnam, however, has recorded 59 H5N1 deaths, compared to Egypt's 40.
The patient profile of Egypt's most recent cases is also somewhat different from the pattern of past years. Women and children, two groups who have the most frequent contact with poultry in Egypt, have been hit hardest overall, but over the last year several men were reported among the cases.
It's not clear if any more cases and deaths for 2010 will be reported by Egypt's health ministry, but the country already leads the world in H5N1 cases in 2010—29 so far, followed by Indonesia (9), Vietnam (7), China (2), and Cambodia (1).
Egypt's latest cases raise the global H5N1 count to 516 cases and 306 deaths.
Jan 5 WHO statement