Egypt - 4th Suspected Case
Of Avian Flu 'Stable'

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello, Jeff -
"However, pharmacies are forbidden from selling Tamiflu, because, if taken irresponsibly, it becomes ineffective."
They should also add that misuse, overuse and abuse of this drug leads to development of antiviral resistance. The drug is also dangerous and can cause side effects.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
Egypt - Fourth Suspected Human Case of
Avian Flu Stable, Government Says
CAIRO -- The fourth suspected human case of bird flu is steadily recovering, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
"He is in good shape," Ibrahim al-Kerdany, WHO spokesman said in Cairo. "He was given Tamiflu as soon as he arrived in hospital and his condition is steady."
Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Ghani Ghobashi, 17, worked on a poultry farm owned by his father, and was exposed to infected birds, al-Kerdany added.
The Ministry of Health announced his condition on 21 March, bringing the total count of confirmed and suspected human infections in Egypt up to four in less than one week.
Ghobashi's is the first case to occur in Gharbiya province, 50 km north of Cairo.
Meanwhile, the condition of a third human case of avian influenza is stable, Ministry of Health officials said on Tuesday, and a speedy recovery is expected.
"She is in intensive care, but her condition is stable," ministry spokesman Abdel Rahman Shahine said. "We expect she will recover."
Fatima Mohamed Yousef, 30, was hospitalised on 20 March, showing symptoms of the H5N1 virus, commonly known as bird flu.
"Her condition was poor when she was hospitalised," Shahine said. "She should have been brought in earlier." She reportedly continued to work with chickens despite a ban imposed in mid-February.
Her illness was announced on Monday by the country's health minister Hatem al-Gabali.
Fatima Yousef, from Qaliubiya province, 40 km north of Cairo, is the third reported human case of bird flu in Egypt. Of the other two, one died on 17 March, while the other has recovered and is expected to be discharged from hospital within 24 hours, officials said. "He has made a full recovery," Shahine said.
Meanwhile, there are four additional suspected cases. The results of their tests are due to be announced tonight.
One reason for the apparent recurrence of human cases in Qaliubiya province is the fact that, until initial reports of H5N1 incidences among birds in mid-February, this was the most active poultry-producing governorate in the country.
"Thirty-five percent of Egyptian poultry industry activity was concentrated in Qaliubya," Shahine said. "And bird flu can only be contracted through regular contact with infected birds." It cannot be contracted by eating cooked chicken or eggs.
All three of the confirmed cases among humans, who appear to have been unrelated, worked in the poultry industry or kept chickens in their homes.
In addition, the confirmation of the first human death has led to growing alarm and large numbers of people are seeking tests at local hospitals. The vast majority have tested negative, Shahine said. Those who are kept in hospital under supervision, awaiting results, are issued with Tamiflu capsules free of charge as a precautionary measure. Tamiflu can cure bird flu only if is taken during the initial phases of disease.
However, pharmacies are forbidden from selling Tamiflu, because, if taken irresponsibly, it becomes ineffective.
Public health authorities have been on alert since the first case of the virus was reported among birds in mid-February. Since then, over 10 million chickens and domestic birds have been culled nationwide by order of the government, crippling the poultry industry and badly affecting its workers.
A ban on the importation of live fowl and the domestic transport of birds has also been introduced and enforced. To date, infected birds have been reported in 17 out of Egypt's 26 governorates, according to the health ministry.
(This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)
Patricia A. Doyle, DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
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