Mike Coston, on his blog Avian Flu Diary, provides both news and context in his latest post: Egypt: The Bird Flu Beat Goes On. Excerpt:
The ability to track H5N1 cases in Egypt seems to vary from day to day. Sometimes we’ll get timely updates on the Egyptian Ministry of Health’s website, but often we’ll go days, or even weeks, with only Arabic media reports to go on. While the `official’ number of Egyptian cases in 2014 was reported as 29 (with 11 deaths), the real number is anyone’s guess.
Reporting and surveillance in Egypt is spotty at best, but even here in the United States public health officials can’t give you an exact number of how many `novel’ influenza infections occur each year.
In 2013, in , in CID Journal: Estimates Of Human Infection From H3N2v (Jul 2011-Apr 2012), we saw a study that estimated that in 2011 – a year where there were only 12 human cases of swine variant H3N2v reported in the United States – the real number of cases was probably in excess of 2000.
Likewise in 2013, during the first wave of H7N9, just over 130 cases were recorded by Chinese health officials, but Hong Kong researchers estimated the number between was probably between 1500 and 27,000 symptomatic infections.
After more than 10 years of study, we still don’t have a good feel for how many H5N1 cases experience mild or moderate flu symptoms, never seek medical care, and therefore never get tested. Likewise, we don’t know how many people succumbed to the virus, while their deaths were attributed to some other cause.