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Biological Health Hazard – Undiagnosed Viral Infection (public health threat): Egypt


Published Date: 2017-03-15 21:01:26
Subject: PRO/EDR> Undiagnosed virus – Egypt: RFI
Archive Number: 20170315.4903834

Date: Wed 15 Mar 2017
Source: Egypt Independent [edited]

Several people are being held at Imbaba and Abbassiya specialized fever hospitals after contracting a virus that doctors are still unable to diagnose, medical sources said amid a media blackout on the part of the Health Ministry.

An informed source said a secret meeting was held at the ministry on Monday [13 Mar 2015] to discuss the issue. Further meetings are ongoing. The number of patients held at the hospitals does not exceed 5 cases, the source added.

A medical source inside Imbaba hospital said some of the infected have been isolated because until the virus is identified, doctors in Egypt are unable to prescribe a suitable treatment.

Al-Masry Al-Youm toured the hospital, trying to reach out to these patients, but the reporter was unable to enter the building where they are held.

Dr. Sherif Fam, head of the Imbaba specialized fever hospital, refused to give information about the patients, claiming he was busy. However, one of the doctors confirmed that about 5 patients are being held there.

Dr. Mohamed al-Sawy, Fam’s deputy, said: “We don’t have anything like that. Maybe it’s in Abbassiya hospital.”

Another doctor indicated that talks are ongoing with the ministry’s central laboratories to identify the virus.

Dr. Ashraf al-Atraby, head of the Health Ministry’s department for fevers, denied that anyone is being held at either of the hospitals. He suggested the reporter try to reach ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed for comment, but he did not respond.

Communicated by:

[It is not clear why the Health Ministry is maintaining silence concerning these cases. No symptoms are described, and almost no information is provided other than there being 5 cases.

It is possible that these cases are A(H5N1) avian influenza. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported on their EMPRES system 2 human H5N1 avian influenza cases [on 28 Feb 2017]. The 1st case was reported from Al-Minya (Menia) Governorate in Upper Egypt. The 2nd case, which was fatal, was from Faiyum, a city in Middle Egypt.

Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person. When people do become infected, the mortality rate is about 60%. Almost all cases of H5N1 infection in people have been associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments. The virus does not infect humans easily, and spread from person to person appears to be unusual.

The number of confirmed human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) reported to WHO since 2003 is 856, with 452 resulting in death (excerpted from

Any information on this outbreak would be greatly appreciated.

A HealthMap of Egypt may be found at – Mod.LK

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:]


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

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