AMMAN: An Egyptian worker diagnosed with the H5N1 deadly strain of bird flu at the end of March has recovered and left a hospital in Jordan on Monday, a medical official told AFP. The patient has completed his treatment. He has recovered and left [a] hospital, said the director of the Karak state hospital in southern Jordan, Sultan Tarawneh. Abdul Fattah Ahmed Messed, a 31-year-old construction worker and long-term resident of Jordan, was diagnosed with bird flu at the end of March after returning from his native Egypt. He was the first reported human case of the virus in the country, where three turkeys were found dead earlier in March struck by the H5N1 deadly strain. Since then, Jordan has slaughtered tens of thousands of birds and vaccinated many others to stem the disease. Messed had taken part in slaughtering birds at a farm struck by bird flu in Egypt before returning to his job in Jordan, according to the Egyptian state-run news agency MENA. Three people have died of bird flu in Egypt.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is concerned about the disease s human toll in a relatively short period of time. The agency has so far confirmed four of the 11 cases, including two of the three that died. The disease, which has killed at least 109 people worldwide, has so far not passed from human to human, but it can be contracted from handling infected birds. Scientists fear the virus could mutate into a form that could pass easily between humans, sparking a pandemic. The bulk of human cases were reported in the Far East and China, where the epidemic broke out in 2003, but Egypt, Turkey and Azerbaijan have been the most affected countries in the new wave of infections that spread westward this year.
Egypt, where urban rooftop and backyard rearing are almost part of national folklore, has slapped a ban on domestic poultry farms and more than 10 million birds are believed to have been slaughtered. While monitoring compliance with government measures is easier in large poultry farms, many Egyptians with small domestic farms have been reluctant to cull their birds The government pays around LE 5, less than $1, for every slaughtered bird. Egypt consumes some 800 million birds a year and exports many to the entire region.
State efforts to contain the virus have been hampered by people who continue to rear poultry domestically despite the ban, because they say they are too poor to slaughter their birds. Women, who make up all three 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.
Saber Abdel Aziz Galal, a ministry of agriculture official in charge of poultry infections, said the rising figures were expected. People do not respect instructions from the authorities, he told AFP. They consider poultry capital and do not think about their health. Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, is on a major route for migratory birds, at the crossroads between Asia and Africa. Agencies