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18 November 2014

Egyptian woman dies of bird flu

A 19-year-old Egyptian woman has died from bird flu. Egypt has identified seven cases of the virus in people this year, including the two who died.

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An Egyptian woman died on Monday of H5N1 bird flu after coming into contact with infected birds, the second death from the disease this year, a health ministry spokesman told Reuters.

Risk of sporadic infections

Egypt has identified seven cases of the virus in people this year, including the two who died, Hosam Abdel Gaffar said.

In the latest case, the woman was 19 and died at a hospital in the southern region of Assiut, he said.

According to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), from 2003 through until October 2, 2014, there have been 668 laboratory-confirmed human cases of H5N1 infection officially reported from 16 countries. Of these cases, 393 have died.

Read: Q&A of bird flu

Egypt's health ministry had announced in an earlier statement the discovery of the disease in a 30-year-old woman in the southern area of Minya, bringing to seven the number of confirmed Egyptian cases of the disease.

Another of the victims was a three-year-old who had been exposed to infected birds and was doing well, it said.

The WHO warns that whenever bird flu viruses are circulating in poultry, there is a risk of sporadic infections or small clusters of human cases – especially in people exposed to infected birds or contaminated environments.

Human cases of H5N1 are rare, however, and the virus does not currently appear to transmit easily from person to person.

Egypt's H5N1 cases have largely been found in impoverished rural areas in the south of the country, where villagers, particularly women, tend to keep and slaughter poultry in the home.

Read more:

Poultry destroyed after bird flu outbreak in Holland
Bird flu: how worried should we be?
Bird flu mutation resistant to medication

Image: H5N1 bird flu virus from Shutterstock

 
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