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Fifth Egyptian dies of bird flu

Written by: Staff
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CAIRO, May 4 (Reuters) A fifth human victim of bird flu died in Egypt today, the state news agency MENA said.

The 27-year-old woman, named as Samah Abdel Aziz Mohamed, was hospitalised with pneumonia on Monday. The World Health Organisation linked her infection to exposure to diseased poultry during a recent visit to the Nile Delta, outside Cairo.

Health Ministry spokesman Abdel Rahman Shahin, quoted by MENA, said she contracted the disease 10 days before entering hospital, by which time the disease was already in an advanced stage.

People who have been in close contact with her have been tested for the deadly virus and have all been negative, he said.

Egypt has reported a total of 13 human cases of the H5N1 virus in humans. Five of them, all women, have now died.

Essentially an animal disease, the virus can infect people who come into close contact with infected birds. It has infected 206 people since late 2003, killing at least 114 of them, according to the World Helath Organisation.

Scientists say they are worried the virus could mutate into a form that passes easily from person to person, sparking a pandemic in which millions could die.

REUTERS PM RN2238

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