Monday, December 25, 2006

Egyptian woman dies of bird flu

Egyptian woman dies of bird flu
An Egyptian woman has died of bird flu just hours after testing positive for the H5N1 strain of the virus.

The 30-year-old was first treated on 17 December, before a brother and sister, aged 26 and 15, also fell ill.

The World Health Organization confirmed the test results on the three, who live with 30 other family members raising poultry in a town north of Cairo.

She is the eighth person to die of bird flu in Egypt. The positive tests raise to 17 the total number of human cases.

The two siblings are in hospital in Cairo and have been treated. The rest of the family is under close medical surveillance, a WHO official said.

Family farm

The extended family share one house in the town of Zifta in Gharbiya province, about 80km (50 miles) north of Cairo.

A WHO official said the family raised ducks, and the brother and sister had become infected after slaughtering the flock in an effort to stem the spread of the H5N1 virus.

Three of the family's ducks had died of the virus, WHO confirmed.

Egypt is a major route for migratory birds and is one of the countries worst hit by the virus outside Asia.

Government officials had hoped an initial outbreak of H5N1 among poultry in February had been contained and would not further affect the country's food supply.

In the Middle East, the disease is also known to be present in Iran, Iraq, Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.