Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Avian influenza - situation in Egypt

27 December 2006

The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population has informed WHO of three new human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) virus infection. All three cases belong to one extended family in Gharbiyah province, 80 kilometres northwest of the capital city, Cairo. While being transferred and cared for at the country's designated avian influenza hospital, a 30 year-old female, a 15 year-old girl and a 26 year-old male died. The most recent death occurred on 27 December. The cases reportedly had contact with sick poultry (ducks).

Clinical specimens from the three cases were tested positive for avian influenza A(H5N1) virus by Egyptian Central Public Health Laboratory. The virus was also detected in specimens from two of the three patients by US Naval Medical Research Unit No.3 (NAMRU-3). The samples will be sent to WHO Collaborating Centre for further testing including virus characterization.

The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population is conducting further investigations and has initiated public health measures. The other family members remain healthy and have been placed under close observation.

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