Monday, January 14, 2008

H5N1 Prevalent in Egypt

With a total of 43 cases of human bird flu since the disease was first recorded in the area around this time last year, making Egypt one of the most affected countries in the world thus far. While national authorities try to impose limitations/bans on the purchasing/consuming of farm-raised fowl, the public is resistant as they feel their government "profit from bird flu" and are "trying to get people to buy frozen chickens. That way they'll make money off [their] backs." Due to such governmental distrust, those with neighbors whose farm poultry were afflicted with bird flu continue to sell or eat their own chickens instead of killing them as is recommended by the authorities. Unfortunately, most of the cases of human bird flu are women and children mainly because they are the most frequent handlers of the infected birds. Overall, because of these people's close contact with poultry, the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization has declared that as a country, Egypt is one of the most likely places for the spontaneous bird flu mutations to take place that will allow the virus to be more easily passed between human and bird.

Becca Briggs

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