There is a quote that I am personally rather fond of:
"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting '...holy shit...what a ride!'" – Anonymous
That handily sums up my 2007, so there is no need to bore anyone with details.
As is often said around the cyber flu community PanFlu (Pandemic Influenza) preparation and information gathering, as well as its dissemination, is a marathon, not a sprint. But someone failed to tell me that it was all up hill, occasionally with daunting headwind.
As I was considering the framing of this post it reminded me of an old song by Chicago, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
As I was walking down the street one day
A man came up to me and asked me what the time was that was
on my watch, yeah
And I said
Does anybody really know what time it is
Does anybody really care
What time does it read on the Pandemic Clock? Does anybody really know what time it is?
December has found us at a confluence of conflicting data-streams.
The first, WHO officials stating that progress has been made (which I fully agree with) and that H5N1 has slowed its frightful and inexorable march around the globe (which I fully agree with), and finally, that human cases had slowed in 2007—they had. The threat posed by H5N1 was not felt as acutely as in past years.
Second we have seen a veritable explosion (in comparison) of human cases during the month of December. Pakistan and Egypt are front and center with Indonesia the ever faithful and consistent handmaid.
Since human cases first appeared in Egypt they have had the "feel" of "different" to me and have engendered far more concern than the Indonesian cases, even though there are far more of them, and far more consistently deadly.
Theresa42 posted an update on the recent Egyptian cases along with what summary information currently available, since I would have no hope of doing half as well I will just use her great post from FluWiki. One of the important standouts of this data is the wide range of ages. Traditionally, the children and young women were victims, not so in Egypt. A change in victim's ages may indicate a change in the virus itself.
EGYPT - Detailed summary
SUMMARY OF CONFIRMED AND SUSPECTED CASES IN EGYPT SINCE DEC 25
5 confirmed cases / 4 deaths:
Oula Yunis Ali Mohamed (25F) - d. Dec 25, 2007
- from Beni Haroun village in Beni Suef governorate, south of Cairo
- admitted to Beni Suef hospital on Friday, Dec 21, with high fever, breathing problems and pneumonia
- diagnosed (test results came back) the day she died, Dec 25
- in contact with birds thought to be infected with bird flu
- relatives being checked/tested / mentioned in one article that her mother, specifically, was being tested
- brother of victim said that they went to one doctor who diagnosed bronchitis, but when she didn't get better they went to another doctor in a "special hospital" who sent her to the hospital in Beni Suef
- 39th case / 16th person to die of bf in Egypt
Attorh Hanim Ibrahim [aka Hanem Atwa Ibrahim] (50F) - d. Dec 31, 2007
- from Damietta governorate ("from Al Ngdi's land in the region of Ezbet meat in Damietta district")
- admitted to Damietta hospital on Monday, Dec 24 with high fever, breathing problems and pneumonia
- husband reports she began showing symptoms on Dec 24
- transferred to Cairo's Abbasiyah hospital
- reported on Dec 31st to be in critical condition
- in contact with birds thought to be infected with bird flu; husband reports that she keep poultry and that two days before she became ill, ten of her poultry had died
- husband and children tested and put under observation for 7 days
- 40th case
Nora Aboul Abbas Mohamed (21/22F)
- from "Center Worries" in Al Minufiyah governorate (also reported: "from the belonging village of Barhim [Braheem], to Minuf center")
- admitted to Minuf hospital on Wednesday, Dec 26 with high fever and difficulty breathing
- transferred to Cairo's Abbasiyah hospital on Dec 27
- father reports that she began showing symptoms on the night of Dec 25 and that she had found dead poultry in her shop that morning
- reported on Dec 31st to be recovering in intensive care
- poultry seller, in contact with birds thought to be infected with bird flu
- family being tested
- 41st case
Fatma Fathi Mohamed (25F) - d. Dec 30, 2007
- from Daqahliya governorate
- admitted to local hospital on Dec 27 with high temperature and difficulty breathing; transferred to Mansoura hospital on Dec 29
- suspected of handling sick domestic birds
- 42th case / 17th person to die of bf in Egypt
Firdaus Mohamed Hadad (26F) - d. Dec 31, 2007
- from Al Minufiyah governorate
- hospitalized on Saturday, Dec 29
- high fever, difficulty breathing, pulmonary infection
- reportedly in contact with sick birds
- 18th death / 43rd case
12 suspected cases reported in the last week / 1 death:
Dec 30 -
Mohamed Khalil Abdul Qawi (40M) - Beheira governorate - reported Dec 30 - from the village of Ezbet Alhouci Bbrem Center Kom Hamada
Nader Said Babylonian (5M) - Al Minufiyah governorate - from the village "Alaptanon"
Ahmad Abdulmohsen (6M) - Al Minufiyah governorate - from the village "Kafr Tunbdi" at the centre of Shebin Mound
*Note that the two boys are from the same governorate as confirmed case Nora Aboul Abbas Mohamed above.
Dec 31 -
Amiriya north of Cairo:
Salah Eddin Mohamed Ali (43M) - d. Dec 29 - schoolteacher - had acute pneumonia - kept roof-top birds
Abdul Rahman Ibrahim (57M)
Abed Rabbo (50M?)
Mohammad Ferdous (36M)
Reza Abdalmugod Abdilkadir (25M) - husband of Radwan
Radwan - wife of Reza
Mohammed (9M) - son of Reza & Radwan
Rajab (5M) - son of Reza & Radwan
So, the New Year will find us watching Egypt with intense interest, irrespective of the year-end assessments that want to tell us that H5N1 is less of a threat than it was at the beginning of 2007.