The epidemiological and molecular aspects of influenza H5N1 viruses at the human-animal interface in Egypt
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With 119 confirmed cases between March 2006 and December 2010, Egypt ranks second among countries reporting human H5N1 influenza virus infections. In 2009-2010, Egypt reported 68 new human cases and became the new epicenter for H5N1 infections. We conducted an epidemiological and molecular analysis in order to better understand the situation in Egypt. The onset of new cases peaked annually during the winter and spring months, with majority of cases reported in the Nile Delta region. Most cases were less than 18 years old (62%) and females (60%). The overall case-fatality rate was 34% and significantly increased by age. There was a significant difference between the case-fatality rates among females and males. We observed a significant drop (p = 0.004) in case fatality rate in 2009 (10%) as compared to higher rates (36%-56%) in other years. Hospitalization within 2 or 3 days after onset of symptoms significantly decreased mortality. Molecular analysis showed that variations do occur among viruses isolated from birds as well as from humans in Egypt, and these mutations were especially noted in 2009 viruses. As the epidemiological profile of Egyptian cases differs from other countries, there is an urgent need to conduct prospective studies to enhance our understanding of incidence, prevalence, and determinants of virulence of human infections with avian H5N1 influenza viruses. © 2011 Kayali et al.
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