A 3-year-old child in Egypt has died from H5N1 avian influenza, according to health officials there, the second such death in Egypt since the start of the year that makes a total of 12 over recent months. Three other people are being treated for the virus. The cases have largely occurred in an area where it is common for families to house and kill poultry in the home.
Scientists have reported the first known case of apparent person-to-person direct transmission of H7N9 avian influenza. The virus, identified earlier this year, has infected more than 130 people and killed 43 of them. A 32-year-old woman apparently contracted the virus while caring for her ill father, who was likely exposed at a poultry market. Both died of organ failure associated with the infection. However, 43 other people who had direct contact with the pair did not become infected.
The commonly reported 58.6% fatality rate related to infection from highly pathogenic avian influenza strain H5N1 could be much lower, according to new research that examined blood samples from more than 12,000 people across three continents and found infection in 1%-2% of the sample.
The World Health Organization said it is "deeply concerned" about the potential risks raised by two studies of H5N1 avian influenza virus strains that can be more easily transmitted among mammals. The WHO, however, said that research must continue under the proper conditions in order to increase knowledge of the risks of the virus.
Australian biotech BioDiem Ltd. says it is testing a vaccine that could provide broad protection against influenza, including the H5N1 avian flu virus. The vaccine has passed Phase I trials in Russia, and a positive response has spurred the maker to begin the next phases later this year.