U.N. agency urges Egypt to boost bird flu education

Daily Star Egypt Staff
2 Min Read

CAIRO: Egypt needs to raise public awareness of how to avoid bird flu, which the government says has killed one person and infected four others this month, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Monday. There was no sign of human-to-human transmission in Egypt, said Hassan Al-Bushra, WHO regional adviser for communicable diseases surveillance. You need to do more health education. Most of the cases are backyard farms and people who are not really abiding by the instructions of the Ministry of Health, Bushra said. Some, for example, had moved their poultry indoors after being told to dispose of the birds, he said. Bird flu, which has spread from Asia to the Middle East, Africa and Europe, remains essentially an animal disease but can infect people who come into contact with sick poultry. The virus was first reported among birds in Egypt in February. The first human infection appeared in mid-March. A U.S. military laboratory in Egypt has confirmed that four people have caught the virus. The health authorities, which carry out initial tests on sick people, announced a fifth suspected case on Sunday. Two of the infected people left hospital on Sunday, having been treated with Tamiflu, which experts say is the best drug for fighting the virus in humans. These cases were expected. I expect them to disappear soon because (the government) now have even more strict measures in place, Bushra said. The most important thing is that these cases are not related. It s not human-to-human transmission and all of them were in close contact with poultry, he said. Generally the government is doing a good job. Now they have proper supervision, people in every province. The WHO has yet to independently confirm any of the infections of humans in Egypt. The WHO confirms suspected cases in Egypt through laboratory tests in Britain, Bushra said. Reuters

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