Is bird flu losing virulence?/ CIDRAP

Egypt’s health ministry has confirmed an H5N1 avian influenza infection in a 21-year-old woman, the country’s third case since late September, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today. She received Tamiflu.

An investigation into the source of her infection revealed that the woman had close contact with dead poultry and had helped slaughter sick birds.

Egypt’s latest case confirmation raises the global H5N1 tally to 447 cases, of which 263 have been fatal (a 59% fatality rate–Nass).

The country so far has recorded more H5N1 cases in 2009 than any other. Of 52 cases reported internationally, 39 were from Egypt. Of those Egyptians who were infected in 2009, only four died (a 10% fatality rate. This makes you wonder whether cases have been primarily diagnosed posthumously, and that cases who survive are being missed…after all, what country wants to advertise rising numbers of humans with avian flu, since tourism will be affected, and it doesn’t help other businesses–Nass )

UPDATE: Science covered the story of asymptomatic individuals who were antibody positive for avian (bird) flu in 2005, suggesting the mortality rate could be considerably less than expected.

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