The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed 8 H5N1 avian influenza cases – 3 from Vietnam and 5 from Egypt, reports CIDRAP.
The 3 cases in Vietnam include 1 fatality, a 38-year-old woman from Tien Giang province in the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam. An investigation into the source of her illness revealed that she had slaughtered and processes sick waterfowl, the WHO report said.
The other 2 patients include a 3-year-old girl from Khanh Hoa province in south central Vietnam, and a 17-year-old girl from Tuyen Quang province in the northeastern part of the country. The teen was treated for mild breathing difficulties. Before she got sick, chickens in her home had died from unexplained causes, and she had helped dispose of them.
The 3 new infections and 1 fatality raise Vietnam’s H5N1 total to 115 cases, 58 of them fatal.
Animal health officials in Vietnam have recently reported to the OIE 7 new H5N1 poultry outbreaks in 4 different provinces.
Veterinary experts have attributed Vietnam’s recent spike in H5N1 outbreaks to illegal transport and processing of birds, especially in the weeks surrounding the Tet holiday, when demand for poultry is typically high.
The most recent illness among Egypt’s five cases is a 53-year-old man from Qalyubia governorate, in the north. He was hospitalized and treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu) but is in critical condition, the WHO reported.
One of the other patients, a 1-year-old boy, is also from Qalyubia governorate, but from a different district. He received oseltamivir and is in stable condition.
The 5 new cases raise Egypt’s H5N1 case count to 104, which includes 30 deaths.
The other three cases were recently reported by Egypt’s Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR). One case is a 10-year-old boy from Dakahlia governorate, northeast of Cairo, who was also treated with oseltamivir. The WHO report said he is in “moderate” condition. The second case is a 30-year-old woman from Kafr el-Sheikh governorate, in northern Egypt. She received oseltamivir and is listed in stable condition. The other case is of a 13-year-old boy from a different district of Kafr el-Sheikh governorate who also received oseltamivir and is in stable condition.
The WHO reported that all 5 of Egypt’s latest H5N1 patients had been exposed to sick and dead poultry.
Livestock officials in Egypt have updated the SAIDR, reported finding the H5N1 virus in poultry from 69 different locations covering 19 governorates since 10 Feb. Most occurred in household birds, and many of the detections were linked to surveillance activities.
The recent spate of human cases in both Vietnam and Egypt mirrors reports of several recent H5N1 poultry outbreaks in both countries.
Today’s WHO confirmations of the Vietnamese and Egyptian H5N1 cases and death raise the world’s total to 486 cases, 287 of them fatal.