Friday, April 3, 2009

Egypt: Upswing in Human H5N1 Cases

With 61 reported human H5N1 cases and 23 fatalities, Egypt has the highest number of reported cases of any country outside of Asia. Six new human H5N1 infections in the past month, mostly in young children in northern rural areas, have spurred WHO to request an investigation into the seeming susceptibility of young children to contracting the virus in rural areas. This susceptibility seems to be explained by greater involvement of young girls and women in poultry raising activities in rural areas, a practice similar to other countries experiencing ongoing spread of H5N1.

Despite a rising number of new infections, the case-fatality rate remains relatively low compared to other countries with reported human H5N1 cases. Quicker treatment of possible cases and the use of oseltamivir have been credited for the lower rate.

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