Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bird Flu in Egypt: 24 Provinces out 26 confirmed Cases

Government Response to Bird Flu Insufficient:
According to independent Egyptian health experts government measures to prevent the spread of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus are insufficient.

Raouf Hamed of the National Organisation for Drug Control and Research said "Action in Egypt to tackle the problem has been confused and chaotic." Moataz Billah Osman, researcher at the Arab Organisation for Human Rights, echoed this sentiment, noting: "Although international health crises are difficult to manage, the government should have done more during the period leading up to the arrival of the virus in Egypt."

Raising Awareness:
Bird flu has spread to birds in provinces in the south and west of Egypt. Fourteen provinces out of the country's 26 now have confirmed cases of the virus in birds, up from Wednesday's total of 11.

Government said a campaign has been launched that will include mosque sermons to raise awareness about the virus.

State television has also been broadcasting public service announcements outlining symptoms of birds suffering from the H5N1 virus and advice on how to dispose of any infected birds.

Dozens of poultry workers protested outside parliament on Thursday against the government's decision to close down poultry street merchants while the virus is still a threat.

A group of MPs on Tuesday ate a meal of chicken outside parliament to try and reassure Egyptians that eating the meat was not a danger to their health.

Economic Impact:
Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza said on Wednesday Egypt's government will buy all healthy chickens offered for sale by farmers until late March in a bid to support farms hard hit by the outbreak of bird flu.

Demand for chicken has collapsed since the deadly H5N1 virus was first identified in chickens in Egypt last week.

A U.N. expert said The impact of culling and the fall in chicken sales could be severe because the industry, which was worth about 17 billion Egyptian pounds ($3 billion) in investments, supports between 2.5 million and 3 million people.

Rumors Spread:
Many Egyptians have reacted with alarm to news that the virus has been spreading and rumours that dead chickens suffering from the disease have been culled and thrown into the Nile, polluting what is virtually Egypt's sole water source.

A bird flu hotline was receiving about 3,000 calls every five minutes after the water rumours emerged but the number has since dipped to 1,500. The government says the Nile waters are safe.

Previously: Mass Slaughter, State of Emergency Declared Over Avian Flu Spread ...

Photo: An Egyptian worker sits at an empty shop that usually sells chicken in central Cairo days after the first cases of bird flu were detected in Egypt. The sudden outbreak of avian influenza in Egypt has dealt a huge blow to the poultry industry, in a country which consumes 800 million birds a year and exports to the entire region.(AFP/Khaled Desouki)


At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a foreigner having lived in Cairo for a while I used to think that the small animals that were kept in small stores and on the sidewalk were mere pets on their way to a new proud owner. Later I learned the gruesome saves the use of fridges. Barbaric I you'd ask me.

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...

Pets....Sad conclusion.

Yes they are waiting for a proud EATER!! I cannot imagine someone can eat an animal, bird or anything seeing any of those alive before eating.

I am not saying all Egyptians are eating from these stores, but some can go and pick a live chicken to be slaughtered to take it home!

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


It is good you keeping us in touch with what is really happening on the scene regarding the bird-flu in Egypt. It does not look so good how the government is tackling it. I believe transparency in informing the public is key issue. Right now, their priority, it seems, is to calm things. However, rumors usually occur when there is no clear information channel and then people become skeptic of govt. statements and they resort to rumors.
I hope they get to change their mentality and methods.
Egyptian in Germany

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Hash said...

It is unfortunate to read from your blog that bird flu has aviated to Egypt and I do hope this epidemic will not cause long-term effects to the Egyptian economy.

I also like to compliment you on your resourcefulness for this article as for someone such as myself who isn't Egyptian and neither visited the country, can understand and relate to the reactions of politicians as well as the views of the common people in the streets of Cairo.

As for where I am in the United Kingdom, there has been no sign of bird flu yet however we are embracing ourselves for the eventual impact as two of German's Bundeslandern (provinces) have been spotted. - It's only a question of When, I suppose.

On a positive outlook, congratulations on your country winning the African Cup of Nations. It was a great game to watch!


PS: Be nice to read your views on the recent attack on the Shiaa Masjid in Iraq and the possibility of civil war.


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