Avian influenza in humans: Egypt, Vietnam and Indonesia

This infographic shows confirmed cases of human avian influenza (H5N1) in Egypt, Indonesia and Vietnam, reported to the World Health Organization from 2003-2015.

avian influenza human cases record high

According to the World Health Organization, Egypt, Vietnam and Indonesia have recorded the highest level of human infections with avian influenza over the past 12 years. Since the turn of the decade, human infections and deaths are significantly down in Indonesia and Vietnam.

However, in Egypt, the number of people infected and the number dying continues to rise. Egypt recently reported the death of a 40-year-old woman and, between January 1, 2015, and late June, 40 people died worldwide -- almost double the number reported for all of 2014.

Egypt has gone through political turmoil and this has had consequences for the local economy. Many rural inhabitants have turned to keeping poultry in an effort to put food on the table. These small-scale backyard farmers can have little notion of what constitutes good biosecurity and its implementation; for them it is a question of making ends meet and having enough to eat.

This has created an ideal situation for the spread of disease, and a highly difficult situation to monitor or control, even where resources are available. If Egypt’s poultry production were restricted to indoor, modern facilities, then implementing good biosecurity protocols would be much easier, and the disease less likely to spread.

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