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Two Suspect H5N1 Familial Clusters in Sharquia Egypt

Recombinomics Commentary 11:31
January 2, 2008

AIn Sharkia in the eastern Nile Delta, health officials quarantined four citizens for suspected symptoms of bird flu in Sharkia Contagious Disease Hospital.

They were identified as 3-year-old Menah Mohamed Fathi, her grandmother, 55-year-old Samia el-Sayed Awad, and 25-year-old Iman Sobhi and her son, Mohamed Maher Reda.

This came as the health and population ministry declared a maximum state of emergency following the death of three new victims in less than 30 hours.

The above translation describes the hospitalization of four suspect bird flu cases, representing two familial clusters in Sharquia.  These suspect familial clusters are in addition to the four person cluster in Port Said and the two member cluster in Menoufia.  At least two more suspect patients were hospitalized in Qualubiya, where a health care worker is also hospitalized (see satellite map).

Although Egypt has had many suspect H5N1 cases in the past, the cases usually peak in late winter / early spring.  As noted above, the recent confirmed fatalities and declaration of a maximum state of emergency may have contributed to the number of hospitalized suspect cases.  However, the number of H5N1 outbreaks in domestic poultry farms and backyard holdings is exploding, with 25 new outbreaks recently announced. 

In addition, one of the recent suspect patients has died (43M) as has one of the suspect patients (26F), who was subsequently confirmed H5N1 positive.

Updated lab data on the hospitalized patients, and sequence data from the confirmed patients would be useful.

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