Thursday, December 28, 2006


Egypt witnessed three human bird flu death cases in only four days, the death toll of the human bird flu cases in the country rose to 10 and aroused some worries about spreading of the deadly disease.

Reda Abdel Halim Farid, a 26-year-old man from a big family living in the Egyptian Delta governorate of Gharbiya, some 90 km north of Cairo, died of the deadly H5N1 virus on Wednesday, became the third casualty in a week after another two members of the family, a 30-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl, who died on Sunday and Monday respectively.

On the current bird flu situation in Egypt, Egyptian Health Ministry spokesman Abdel Rahman Shahine told Xinhua that the situation seems to be dangerous but it is under control, specially as people start to recognize how dangerous the virus is and directly inform the authorities of any suspected cases. "H5N1 is a serious threat in Egypt and we set up a plan to take measures in cooperation with other ministries to deal with this problem," Shahine said.
Flu vaccination should be mandatory for all Hajj pilgrims to minimise the risk of a global pandemic, say doctors in this week's British Medical Journal. ... At the end of next month Saudi Arabia will again host the Hajj -- the largest annual gathering in the world -- which attracts more than two million pilgrims from almost every country on earth.

For the individual pilgrim this is a deeply spiritual journey, but from a public health perspective, such a gathering makes the possible rampant spread of the influenza virus and a global pandemic a potentially devastating prospect that has been inadequately prepared for, write Professor Aziz Sheikh and colleagues.
If and when H5N1 becomes H2H, then the hajj - this year or in some future year - might very well become the nexus of a global catastrophe.

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