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U N health body confirms 4 Egypt bird flu cases

Written by: Staff
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CAIRO, April 3 (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that four Egyptians have caught bird flu, including two who died from the virus, an Egyptian health ministry official today said.

Nasr al-Sayyed told Reuters that a WHO laboratory in Britain had verified the four cases. The result was received yesterday.

he said. The Egyptian government sends samples from people it suspects have caught the virus to the WHO for final confirmation.

The government says a total of eight Egyptians have been infected by bird flu. Two of those have recovered, while the others are still being treated.

Bird flu has killed at least 105 people worldwide, according to the most recent figures from the WHO. That figure does not include the deaths in Egypt.

The virus was first detected in Egypt in birds in February and has devastated the poultry industry. The government has banned domestic rearing of fowl, but people in poor rural areas are ignoring instructions to get rid of their poultry.

Bird flu has so far not been transmitted from human to human, but can be caught from infected birds. Although difficult for humans to catch, scientists fear it could mutate into a form that can pass easily between humans.

REUTERS OM VC1820

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