Second suspected case of human bird flu discovered

Daily Star Egypt Staff
4 Min Read

CAIRO: An Egyptian man has apparently recovered from a suspected case of bird flu, the health ministry said on Sunday, a day after announcing the virus had killed a woman in the same part of the country. Health and Population Minister Hatem El-Gabali announced the appearance of a second suspected human case of bird flu in Qaloubiyah, Egypt s MENA news agency reported. An initial test had shown he was infected with the virus but a second test was being carried out, MENA said. Meanwhile, Amal Mohammed Ismail, from the Qaloubiyah province, about 40 km (25 miles) north of Cairo, where the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain has been detected in poultry, was taken ill on Wednesday. They (doctors) took samples for analysis at the Ministry of Health laboratories … They confirmed she was infected with bird flu. She died on Friday morning, a ministry statement said, adding the woman had been given Tamiflu, a drug used to treat suspected cases of bird flu. Israel said on Saturday that four poultry workers suspected of having bird flu had tested negative for the virus, after the country detected its first cases of H5N1 in birds on Friday. Bird flu has spread across Europe, Africa and parts of Asia and killed at least 98 people worldwide since 2003. Although hard to catch, people can contract bird flu after coming into contact with infected birds. Scientists fear the virus could mutate into a form that could pass easily between humans, triggering a pandemic in which millions could die. The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that Egypt had reported its first human case of bird flu. Dr Hassan Al-Bushra, WHO s regional adviser for communicable diseases surveillance, said the H5N1 bird flu virus had been found in a blood sample taken from the woman, and that other samples were being tested for further confirmation. Egypt reported its first cases of bird flu in poultry flocks last month. Media and state reports say H5N1 has now been detected in at least 17 of Egypt s 26 governorates and the city of Luxor. Egyptian farmers say the poultry market, worth about LE 17 billion ($3 billion dollars) and supporting up to 3 million people, has been devastated. Israeli workers culled thousands of turkeys and chickens but authorities said further tests were needed to confirm whether an outbreak on two farms was of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. The Health Ministry said four people who had been suspected of having bird flu had tested negative. Israeli officials said poultry in the infected areas and their surroundings would be culled and the carcasses buried in underground pits. In a rare act of cooperation, Israel was also testing dead fowl found in the West Bank and Gaza on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. Serbia on Friday said three children and a teenager from a bird flu-affected area were in hospital after developing fever and flu-like symptoms. Three women who died in Azerbaijan are also thought to be bird flu victims, but the WHO is awaiting the results of further tests before confirming the cause of death. Bird flu has shaken poultry markets around the world as consumers have lost their appetites for chicken, with some countries reporting a drop in sales of up to 70 percent. The EU banned poultry imports from Israel, the EU s executive Commission said. Agencies

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