Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Avian influenza – situation in Egypt

20 March 2006

The Ministry of Health in Egypt has confirmed the country’s first case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus.

The case occurred in a 30-year-old woman from the Qaliubiya governorate near Cairo. She developed symptoms in early March following close contact with diseased chickens, ducks, and a turkey in the household flock. She was hospitalized on 16 March and died the following day.

Monitoring of the woman’s family members and close contacts has found no signs of influenza-like illness.

Testing was conducted by the US Naval Medical Research Unit (NAMRU-3), which is based in Cairo. Samples are being sent abroad for diagnostic verification and further analysis by a WHO collaborating laboratory. WHO will adjust the figures in its cumulative number of cases following the results of this external verification.

Egypt confirmed its first H5N1 outbreak in poultry on 17 February. The virus has since been reported in 18 of the country’s 26 governorates. In Egypt, poultry are often kept in close proximity to households, also in urban areas.

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