Three Months Later a New Bird Flu Case in Egypt
Why is it difficult to control bird flu in Egypt?
"Egypt reported a new human case of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, bringing to 13 the total number of Egyptians who have been infected by the deadly virus.
The health ministry said late Tuesday that the new case was detected in a 27-year-old woman who was infected by poultry from her domestic rearing in the Nile Delta governorate of Menufiya. "
People have no idea about the magnitude of the disaster that could happen if such an epidemic attacks. I think convincing people to stop rearing chickens at home is like telling Egyptians to cross streets at the pedestrian traffic lights because if cars hit they can really kill.
In my neighbourhood in Cairo, I saw two very popular restaurants, serving chicken as their speciality, ran out of business. Now closed...
Most of the disovered cases happen outside the Greater Cairo area where not necessarily chicken are reared at homes except for some informal areas.
With Egypt's centralized government prevention is never better than the cure. It is very difficult for the government to reach out for these rural areas where cases are discovered. It is true there is a speedy response to emerging cases but prevention or raising awarness is not vigourously pushed for to get rid the virus as many countries did.
Three months have passed since the discovery of the first cases and still Egypt is struggling to contain the virus.
As there is no credible communications between the people and the government, Egyptians living in the rural areas find it so difficult to believe the government when it tells them to get rid of their chicken at home. Rural areas residents eat those chicken, some of them sell them and they cannot see the danger probably because high illiteracy rates in these areas make it difficult to convince them. If they get rid of their chicken what is the alternative. You cannot also tell them, oh please check the WHO website for further information.
The problem does not only lie of protecting the people's life or curbing the virus to infect on human to human basis but also to maintain a healthy animal life in the country.
I was keen on watching the Egyptian channels last month, something that was irritating my family because they never watch them. There was no one single time when I went through programs and I found one speaking about the Bird Flu.
The second question that really puzzles, are there enough educated people or cultured about the bird flu who are going to the vast areas of the rural areas in Egypt to raise awarness. I will say here from the Ministry of Health because the government was smart enough to kill the activities of the civil society or the citizens' initiatives in general. Where are the volunteers and pharmaceutical companies in Egypt whom can be used to raise awarness and provide needed medical supplies if needed... where are the private sector initiatives...possibly busy around the centralized government in Cairo...
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