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Cablegate: Egypt Avian Flu Update: 26th Human Case

VZCZCXRO9191
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHHM RUEHKUK RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0778 0781449
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191449Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4087
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHDC

UNCLAS CAIRO 000778

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR NEA/ELA, AIAG FOR WINN AND LANGE, ISN FOR BODNAR
AND RAO
AMMAN FOR WHITTLESEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFLU KSTH TBIO ECON PREL EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT AVIAN FLU UPDATE: 26TH HUMAN CASE
CONFIRMED, NINE OUTBREAKS ON COMMERCIAL FARMS REPORTED

Sensitive but unclassified. Not for internet distribution.

1. (U) Ministry of Health and Population officials (MOHP)
confirmed the 26th case of highly pathogenic H5N1 in a
two-year old boy on March 19, and the 25th case on March 14
in a ten-year old girl, both from the Aswan governorate.
Their families raise backyard poultry. Thirteen of the
twenty-six confirmed human cases since March 2006 have died.

2. (SBU) Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) officials expressed
concern over nine confirmed H5N1 outbreaks in the commercial
poultry sector since February 2007. The government official
responsible for avian influenza diagnostics told econoff on
March 18 that "very poor biosecurity" standards on the nine
farms led to recent H5N1 outbreaks. "If we are going to
continue a mass vaccination program, we must improve the
standards on commercial farms."

3. (SBU) One of these commercial farmers may be facing
prosecution for knowingly selling infected birds to backyard
farmers and directly causing another human case, according to
MOA officials. The parents of human case number 23, a
four-year old from Daqahliya, who recovered and was released
from the hospital on March 5, reportedly unwittingly
purchased sick birds from a farm with confirmed outbreaks.
Following the initial appearance of H5N1 in February 2006,
when more than 800 outbreaks were reported on commercial
farms, Egyptian officials pursued a mass vaccination
campaign. Though generally successful in eliminating the
symptoms of the disease on commercial farms, vaccinated
poultry continues to carry the virus.

4. (U) In an effort to stem cases in the backyard sector,
where the majority of recent outbreaks have occurred, MOA
officials issued a decree mandating vaccination of day-old
chicks in traditional hatcheries, calling for compulsory
registration of poultry farms countrywide, and instituting a
mapping system for infected sites. The MOHP announced on
March 11 the implementation of UNICEF-funded project to train
10,000 female volunteers in rural areas to raise awareness on
disease prevention.
RICCIARDONE

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