bird flu, avian flu, pandemic

Cairo Egypt Confirms 4 Deaths in Bird Flu

Avian Flu - Egypt said on Tuesday that four people have been infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, including one who has already died.

However, the results of medical tests carried out by the health ministry are still awaiting a final confirmation from the World Health Organisation, which has sent the specimens to a British laboratory.

The latest case was contracted by Mohammed Mahmud Abdul Ghani Ghabash, 17. A a student from the province of Gharbiyah, north of Cairo, he was admitted to hospital on Sunday, Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali said.

Ghabash worked on his father’s poultry farm, where 3,000 birds died of flu over the weekend.

Previously, Fatima Mohammed Yussef, 30, from Qaliubiya, north of Cairo, was admitted to hospital in the capital after showing initial bird flu symptoms.

She had continued to work in her chicken coop and kill fowl two weeks ago despite a ban since the H5N1 virus was detected in Egypt in mid-February.

An infected man has also been in hospital after spending time with infected poultry but medics said Sunday he was recovering.

The only fatal victim so far has been Amal Mohammed Ismail, from Nawa village also in Qaliubiya province, who kept a domestic bird farm despite a ban on the practice since the arrival of bird flu. She died of a fever in hospital Saturday nearly two weeks after she was admitted with flu-like symptoms.

Meanwhile, ministry spokesperson Abdulrahman Shahin said three more people, including a 10-year-old girl, were suspected of having contracted the disease.

Later, however, he said tests on the three had all proved negative.

Eighteen out of Egypt’s 26 provinces have now been affected by bird flu.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu, its most aggressive form, has killed nearly 100 people worldwide, according to the WHO, and seen millions of birds destroyed.

Egypt is on a major route for migratory birds, at the crossroads between Asia and Africa.

An outbreak of the most pathogenic strain of the virus that originated in Asia was seen as inevitable in Egypt after seven birds were found infected in February

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