Study: New H5N1 strain in Egypt may be tied to rise in human cases

Sunday, April 5, 2015
By Paul Martin

Robert Roos
CIDRAP News
Apr 03, 2015

A new strain of H5N1 avian influenza virus that has apparently gained predominance in Egypt in recent months may be associated with the sharp increase in human H5N1 cases there during that same time frame, an international team of scientists reported yesterday in Eurosurveillance.

The researchers said the new strain has spread widely in Egypt’s poultry and that two recent H5N1 isolates from human patients fall into the same group. It’s too early to tell if the strain has gained a greater ability to jump from birds to humans, they wrote, and further studies are needed to find out if that’s the case.

At this point it can’t be “excluded with certainty that the emerging phylotype of viruses may have increased zoonotic potential and may be transmitted more efficiently to humans, although this assumption cannot be drawn from the molecular evidence described here,” the report states. The authors are from Egypt, Germany, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

435 outbreaks in 5 months

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