Egyptian Chronicles: Breaking News : The first H1N1 Suspected Case in Egypt

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Breaking News : The first H1N1 Suspected Case in Egypt

The fever hospital in Tanta has detained the first H1N1 suspected case in Egypt. 39 years old Hany Dousky El-Shazely who returned back from Mexico lately. Hany lives at Kafr El-Ta'abana in Samond. "Via Youm 7"
He is currently detained for further test. His blood sample was sent to the central labs of the health ministry and I expect that the sample was sent to the NEMRU , already the H5N1 suspected samples are sent there for confirmation. Hany's family is currently under observation. I hope that the results will be negative.
Today most newspapers published special pages for the virus. I feel that there is panic in the country. The airports are on red alert. Sinai is on a red alert for fear the virus will be transferred through Israel especially after the announcement there that there is a third H1N1 positive case.
Most people are joking about the matter as far as I could tell.
Update # 1 
His results came negative thank God.
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  1. And it didn't come from the pigs.

  2. Zeinobia
    have you heared this information before
    "the regular flu kills 36,000 people a year in the United States """

  3. The Minister of Health claims it was declared by mistake

  4. I knew there is panic and hysteria in Egypt the moment I read the words "Kill Them All".

  5. @Justin, the pigs can be a medium for virus mutation ,we have received warnings from the WHO that the H5N1 can mutate because of the pigs as they are raised in unhealthy environment full of germs
    we know very well that the virus will come from abroad ,yet we can´t jeopardize anything
    I do not know if you know the situation in Egypt from over populated areas to lack of awareness and real health infrastructure ,then expect catastrophe

    @Ayman, yes I know very well the dangerous of regular flu and its implication

    @Abu Hamza ,

    @anonymous , we have to panic , our government is chaotic one , we can't get rid from H5N1 which is killing already, can you imagine what if this virus enters Egypt

  6. zeinobia,

    Indeed, I live in Egypt and I am quite familiar with the overpopulation and lack of infrastructure. I'll get to the "lack of awareness" part shortly...

    ALL flus have their origins in birds. This strain of flu (H1N1) has swine, avian, and human components meaning that some time in its evolutionary life, it has adapted to each type of host organism.

    * They have not found a single pig anywhere in the world with this H1N1 strain.
    * Mexican pigs (where the original infected swine most likely exist) cannot fly to Egypt like H5N1 birds can. There is little or no opportunity for an Egyptian pig to be infected by a Mexican pig.

    Any risk from the swine in Egypt would necessitate that there are swine in Egypt with a flu strain that is transmittable to humans (there is no indication of this) AND that, once transmitted to humans, it would need to make a second evolutionary adaptation to being human-to-human transmittable. The likelihood of such a chain of events is slim and the risk that this poses is inconsequential because there is already a strain which has made these adaptations and has nothing to do with the pigs in Cairo.

    The resources spent trying to cull the swine could be put to more effective use implementing actual public health campaigns for the general population of Egypt.

    Regarding the "lack of awareness" you cite, the decision to cull these pigs not only shows a "lack of awareness" of the ACTUAL risks, but willful ignorance of these risks.

  7. The panic and hysteria are caused by mass ignorance combined with religious agenda, so please, don't blame the government for everything the people of Egypt do or think. Killing the pigs will not prevent the disease from entering Egypt, the virus is only an excuse to kill the pigs, which is one more step towards converting Egypt into a total Islamic state. The next target will be alcohol.

  8. First, last year alone more than 450,000 people world wide died from the normal flu (influenza) you can find these figures at the WHO website as well as the American Medical Associates. Last year alone more than 1.8 million people where killed world wide by automobile accidents, last year more than 370,000 people where killed by leisure time activities: sports, falling on rocks, swimming etc.

    The amount of people killed by bird flu total in the world from 1997 to November 2007: 206 cases reported "world wide"

    A bit of over kill don't you think?

    anyway posted this earlier, hope you will respond:

    Is the owner of this blog going to respond? There seems to be some legitimate questions being asked about her and people waiting for her comment. You started this topic on here so will you kindly respond since you made such a profound statement?

    I will again pose the questions from above (please do try to answer the questions WITHIN the manner the questions are asked):

    1. Why do you support the slaughter of every single pig in Egypt - even though just about every medical, scientific organization, the UN and WHO all state that it "is not" being transmitted by pigs but by people to people? (please do not use the excuse in order to be preventative) the above organizations have already stated that it would not do any good what so ever and the risk is more than 90% of catching from people to people, 9% from touching things that inflicted people have touched and less then 1% from any direct contact with "effected" pigs. Also if you follow the medical belief at the start that this was a pig flu then you should also follow the same people who are saying this is not transfered by pigs but from people to people.

    2. Why do you support the slaughter of pigs when is has been stated it is impossible to catch it from eating pork period?

    3. Why have you not called for the slaughter of every bird and poultry in Egypt when it has been shown that the bird flu was and still is far more dangerous than Influenza A? When even in Egypt several persons have already died from it.

    4. Why do you not instead suggest the government go after the pig farmers for rearing pigs in unhealthy situations and fine them or arrest them and make them relocate the pigs?

    5. You state the government is going to compensate the farmers, why not instead provide the farmers with the money to update or relocate the pigs?

    6. How do you compensate? Farmers have a ready stock of pigs for the market, they will loose all of those, farmers have a rotating stock, they will loose that rotation and have to start fresh, Farmers have pigs to give birth the future stock (this is on going) they will loose this as well, therefore even if the farmers where to get new live stock, it would take years for them to fully recover.

    7. Please do not bring up how to Pope, etc all support, they are not medical experts nor scientist working directly with this.

    8. If you still support the killing of all the pigs even after all of the above, do you then also support the lock up "(even if by force) of humans who not only might have the flu, but also anyone what so ever who has come from any of the 17 countries that have reported cases: Mexico, Canada, USA, France, Russia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, China, UK, etc? Do you agree that if any person "period" should come into EGYPT from any of those countries that they should automatically be locked up for a period of at least 2-3 days from entering the country in order to take PREVENTATIVE measures to see if they may have the illness? If you do not support this, then can you explain why not since if by your argument: why take the chance" therefore since there is virtually NO CHANCE of getting from these pigs (since these pigs are not in contact with the Mexican pigs) but there is a very high chance that a person could have it, then "why take the chance"?

    These are 8 questions that sum up all of the above, please answer if you do not mind and please substantiate your answers, that is all we are asking.

  9. H5N1 Originates in Alaska:

  10. @Justin, It is good that you live in Egypt because you will know that our pigs are not raised in farms for food propose but rather in unhealthy dumpsters to eat garbage in the first place and that garbage raisers themselves are in threat of an epidemic because of the government neglect and the lack of hygiene,they do not have water there for God Sake !!
    Now do u agree or not that the pig itself is a vessel to mix a cocktail of flu "H1N1, H5N1 and human flu" to have your own homemade swine flu strain settled in Egypt just like the H5N1 flu , is not this a possible scenario and respectable countries always plan for the worse ?? or should we wait then the whole world blame us later ??
    Yes this strain of H1N1 is said not to be transferred from the pigs to humans but do not forget that up till now the origin of the current strain is unknown. Pigs can be the medium and we do not know yet
    I swear that for the past three years the WHO has warned that we will have a disaster because of the pigs dumpsters several times and the fact that the H5N1 may mutate in these dumpsters to Human to human status , by the way there are poultry raised too in these dumpsters.
    This is a very late reactive action , a precautious act we should have taken from a long time. I do not have anything against raising pigs but where and how you are going to raise them. It turned that most of the pigs slaughtered in the past few days were infected by parasites and worms
    The Shura Council made a report about the possibility of how many Egyptians can die because of this virus if it arrives in Egypt and it is scary , millions can die in few days because of the lack of a real health infrastructure in hospitals ,the huge population plus ignorance in Cairo and Delta , not even in Upper Egypt , call us hysterical but we can't jeopardize our lives

  11. @anonymous, just for your information the person who suggested the cull of all pigs in Egypt in the parliament is MP Ibstam Habib, the Christian MP who had a nasty fight from few months with the MBs

  12. I understand that, but you seem to think that just because a Christian MP or a Christian Pope called for something changes the above. We had asked "you" to clarify your answers. It was you who said you hope they do kill all the pigs, we wanted to know your reasonings against the 8 questions above.

    Especially the one about people traveling to Egypt, can you respond to those because again you state you can not take the chance, so it would make even more sense then to ban people from coming and going from Egypt, since the most likely way the strain will appear there is by a person, doesn't that make more sense?

  13. @Thinker, you should check also the number of those who were killed in the car accidents in the last three years because they were more than all the Egyptians that died in our wars in the 20th century
    You must know that Egypt had no.1 death toll in 2009 for H5N1 which settled down in Egypt and the WHO warned that it may mutate in Egypt to the human to human phase killing millions in Egypt ,the WHO for 3 three years spoke about the pigs dumpsters but the government could not do anything in front of the influence of the Garbage collectors tycoons , I am not speaking about the poor collectors who living with those pigs in these dumpsters as I am speaking about the big heads in Egypt , the millionaires of garbage, you see Garbage collection is a shady very profitable profession in Egypt.
    Already just before answering your questions I should hint about the following points
    -The pigs are not raised in farms as you know it it is dumpsters
    - Those pigs are not raised for food proposes but rather to eat garbage in dumpsters
    - The real number of pigs according to the latest official statical information released by the government is 168,000 pig not 500,000 as it was announced earlier.
    -51% of these pigs will be slaughtered in a hygienic way , the remaining 49% will be slaughtered and its meat will be stored and sold. The percentage of the meat or even the pigs from the total Egypt animal wealth is too small to mention.
    Now about the questions
    1.Yes the WHO said that the pigs do not have hand in Swine flu , but up till now nobody knows the source of that strain of this flu. It is possible scientifically that pigs some how hosted this strain for some time and we do not know
    It is not preventative in case of someone comes from outside but let's go back to the fact that the pig scientifically is a vessel to mix human flu, H5N1 and H1N1, already I heard about the dangers of the H1N1 and how explosive our pigs dumpsters are as pigs according to the WHO H5N1 can mutate because of them especially with the lack of total hygiene
    You think it is not preventive , well it is more of precautious action , the H5N1 has already settled down in Egypt and from time to time it kills innocent people in Egypt , if that scary scenario takes place , millions can die starting the garbage collectors and then the whole world will just watch !!
    2-The pork meat is not the issue , I know very well the virus does not transfer from it, already the majority of the country does not eat and many Christians too do not eat , again these pigs were not raised to be eaten but rather to eat the garbage , very few of it are sold to hotels and few outlets in Cairo
    3-FYI Egypt was the third country in the world in exporting frozen chicken , we had a billion pound poultry industry , when the H5N1 came ot Egypt we had to order the slaughter millions of birds and stop the importation of living birds nor the transfer of living birds between the governorate. there was a military order to close the living poultry shops across the country and now. We lost in that outbreak about more than one billion Egyptian pound and we did not complain in fact last week the minister of agriculture has ordered the execution 7300 living bird in Alexandria !!! People have never complained
    what do you think regarding this ??
    4- I think I answered the question in the introduction ,these raisers are not farmers but rather garbage collectors and part of the problem is that they refuse to transfer the pigs in to clean places in the deserts because in the end they are not raisers but rather garbage collectors,they mean shifting their main career.For years people spoke about this matter and no one listened our regime is reactive one , only after realizing the implication of having H5N1 mutated in Egypt they began to act. People are extremely angry from its H5N1 fiasco and that's why they are acting in a very proactive way then ever.

    5- In Cairo where they started to slaughter the pigs , the raisers are compensated by the age and weight of the pig , in governorate the governor and the officials sit with the garbage collectors to know the best way to compensate them. It is worth to mention that the poultry sellers and raisers have not been compensated up till now despite they have lost billions

    6- there will be new clean farms for pigs outside the cities they import pigs as far as I know ,if it is going to take years , well pardon me but in H5N1
    a whole booming successful industry was hit and up till now it is trying to recover as well

    7-Scientists and experts in Egypt agree on the decision not for hypocrisy nor for hidden agendas or whatever.

    8- You should check the measure taken in our airports and harbors for this matter because you will surprise that we are taking this matter very serious ,call it panic or not but there are talks to advance the exams for schools and universities.

    I hope that I answered all your questions in the way that you wanted ,I thank for your time to summarize all questions.
    Dear thinker from ur questions I would say that you do not know much about Egypt , I swear this decision was not taken for a religious reason , the people are really scared and they have to.

  14. @Thinker , I answered all your questions , now regarding the Christian MP , the matter is taken of its context as you can see and is employed by some to enrich the sectarian division,I can't stand like this where as my religion being accused like that and this is why I have to remind people with that

  15. @Mr. Robert , are you suggesting that it was made by the U.S army ??

  16. @Zeinobia

    The pigs *are not* "containers" for mixing human-to-human flu.

    You keep trying to compare this with H5N1, which is only slightly relevant. Nonetheless, lets take H5N1 as an example...

    Currently, H5N1 is not human-to-human transmittable. It has been bird-to-human transmittable for a few years now (hence the deaths from it in Egypt). However, the change to being human-to-human transmittable *must* take place in a human host.

    On the other hand, H1N1 is already human-to-human transmittable, so the pig-to-human possibility is irrelevant. It is particularly irrelevant because there is no indication that pigs in Egypt even have H1N1.

    "But they could get it!" you say. Yes, technically, but the possibility is slim to none. H5N1 spread like wildfire through the birds of Egypt because BIRDS FLY. Pigs, on the other hand, DO NOT FLY and the pigs in Egypt have not been exposed to H1N1.

    The conditions in which the pigs are kept is indeed a public health concern, however, the densities of large farms will INCREASE the rate of virus mutations within the animal population. Further, the import of swine to replace those culled are more likely to have the H1N1 virus than those swine currently in Egypt.

  17. Yes to the above.

    Robert S. Finnegan

  18. Dear Zeinobia,
    First I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions; I do appreciate it very much. My insistence on the above questions was more for debate. I appreciate you took the time to respond where many other blog hosts would not respond. Intelligent discourse is always a delight and to have a blog host whom will open their mind and debate a topic and even allow themselves room to read the discussions and think about the topic and answer positively is very refreshing, I would assume you would even allow yourself the chance to change your opinions if shown evidence or another well thought point of view, which is in fact what you have done with me. I stand corrected-about the pigs being reared for food and / or their being a religious over tone to the above. However, though I still stand by my belief that there have been no valid reasons given for the slaughter of the pigs. Yes I do agree all the garbage collectors that are rearing the pigs should have their places shut down. They should also be heavily fined and / or arrested for inhumane treatment of the animals and possible harmful actions towards the general public. As for the pigs, they should be tested and if deemed not harmful. They should then be relocated to a more suitable area, there still is no justification for the mass slaughter of these animals what so ever at this point, be it filthy conditions or the current Influenza outbreak. The above post made a valid point that if these pigs are not in contact with either another pig that has the illness or a human who has caught it, then there is relatively no chance they can catch as oppose to certain birds that can take flight at will.

    I do agree the conditions that these pigs are raised in is utterly inhumane and a disgrace for any society to treat such animals or to allow this to continue. The government should have acted on this long ago and them to should be held accountable. They should also make these garbage collectors to pay for the screening of the pigs and relocation of these pigs. I do agree however if a stock has been tested and shown or determined to be a threat then the appropriate measure would be to terminate that stock, both for the protection of the general population and the other livestock as well.

    As for me, no I am not from Egypt, I am a 41 year old American who has lived in Moscow Russia for about 7 years, Almaty Kazakhstan for 1-2 years and Malaysia for the last 10 years off and on. I am currently in Malaysia (mostly a Muslim and Chinese country.) I found your blog by accident the other day and found it most enlightening and interesting and very good reading. I am enjoying learning about your country from your point of view and am looking forward to future conversations and or debates. I think you have done an excellent job on your blog and it is very refreshing to see someone put their heart into it and respond like you do. I do have two blogs myself but they are more on the light side, one about my time in Malaysia, more like a place for me to just talk nonsense and there other a food blog I am slowly developing. In any regards, thank you very much for taking the time to respond and for allowing me to learn more about your culture from your perspective.
    Michael aka thinker

  19. Hello,

    I agree with the above. Even if we confine this to the particular context of pigs in urban Cairo, MASS SLAUGHTER is not the right solution. It just reflects a certain disregard for life. Sigh.


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