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Egypt announces fourth human death from bird flu

Written by: Staff

CAIRO, Apr 13 (Reuters) Egypt today said a fourth person had died after being infected with the bird flu virus, the state MENA news agency said.

The latest death was an 18-year-old woman from a province north of Cairo, who was admitted to hospital on Monday. Egypt has so far reported 12 human bird flu cases.

The disease, which has killed at least 109 people worldwide, has spread rapidly since 2003 from Asia to Europe, the West Asia and Africa. While mainly affecting animals, scientists fear the disease could mutate into a form that can pass easily between humans, sparking a pandemic.

Bird flu was detected in birds in Egypt in February and the first human infection was reported in mid-March. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already said it was concerned about the disease's human toll in a relatively short period of time.

Women, who make up all of Egypt's fatalities, are often responsible for slaughtering and cooking domestic poultry, and the government has called for more awareness about bird flu among women to protect themselves and their families.

The WHO, which carries out additional tests after initial government testing, has so far confirmed four of Egypt's total cases including two of the deaths.

Reuters PG BD0138

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