Five H5N1 Avian Flu Deaths So Far This Year
An Egyptian woman and child died of H5N1 avian flu, the health ministry said on Monday, the fourth and fifth persons to die of the illness in the country this year.
The six-year-old child died in Minya province on Monday evening, after a 47-year-old woman succumbed to the disease in Assiut province earlier in the day, ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar said.
Both Assiut and Minya provinces are rural areas that have seen a number of bird flu cases in the past year.
The ministry announced one other case in treatment, bringing the total number of cases in Egypt to 20 this year so far. This includes five deaths as well as six recoveries and nine cases still under treatment, Abdel Ghaffar said.
Two people in China’s coastal Fujian province have died of H7N9 avian flu, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, quoting local health officials.
The province had 15 confirmed cases of the strain so far this year, while Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces and Shanghai had also reported human cases of H7N9 this winter, Xinhua said.
It did not say when the two died.
China has had a problem with bird flu for several years, and new infections tend to crop up in the winter months.
Bird Flu or avian influenza, is a virus spread from bird to bird, but can be transmitted to humans handling fowl.
The deadly H5N1 strain has been spreading among poultry in Egypt, as well as parts of Asia. Since 2011, it has also become prevalent in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The disease, which kills around 60 percent of its victims, first showed up in Egypt in 2006 and claimed the lives of 31 people there last year alone.
Symptoms in humans vary but can begin as flu-like ailments and worsen to severe respiratory issues.