Egyptian woman dies of bird flu in second case this week

Ahram Online, Wednesday 19 Nov 2014

An Egyptian woman died on Tuesday of H5N1, bird flu, the second death from the virus in two days and the third this year, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

The 30-year-old woman, from Minya governorate in Upper Egypt, contracted the virus after she came into contact with infected birds, Egypt's health ministry said in a statement.

The first fatality this week was a19-year-old woman who died of the disease on Monday in Upper Egypt's Assiut.

Al-Ahram quoted the ministry as saying that a total of seven cases of bird flue has been recorded this year, three of which died.

In Egypt, most cases have been identified in rural areas, where villagers tend to raise poultry in their homes, thus increasing exposure to live or dead infected birds.

Last May, the UN Information Office held a briefing about the status of bird flu in Egypt.

Dr Henrik Bekedam, WHO representative in Egypt, said 26 percent of global bird flu cases are in Egypt, adding that it has infected 660 people worldwide and killed 175.

Bekedam had told Ahram Online that the risk of the disease to Egyptians was still palpable saying the way people handle poultry is the key factor.

H5N1 was first reported in Hong Kong in 1997. It then spread in 2003 and 2004 from Asia to countries all over the world. It infected hundreds and killed many.

Egypt has identified 180 cases of bird flu since 2006, 65 of whom (36 percent), have died, the health ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added that levels of infection had dropped since 2012.

The ministry said it had taken measures necessary to achieve better monitoring of the disease at all hospitals countrywide and to build a strategic stockpile of the Tamiflu medicine.

The ministry added that it has also set up isolation units at hospitals and was undertaking training for medical teams at hospitals around Egypt. 

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