CAIRO: A 17-year-old girl has died of bird flu, bringing the number of fatalities from the avian flu strain in Egypt to 12, MENA, the state-run news agency reported Monday.
The girl, identified as Nora Nadi from the city of Fayoum, about 70 km south of Cairo, had tested positive for H5N1 strain.
Nadi was admitted to hospital a week ago, Health Ministry official Abdel Rahman Chahine said. The news agency did not say how Nadi contracted the virus, but other Egyptians have become ill after coming in contact with infected birds that are raised at home or while slaughtering or cleaning chicken.
Twenty people have been infected with the deadly H5N1 strain in Egypt so far. Of the 12 deaths, 11 have been women. In Egypt, women and girls tend to look after chickens and turkeys kept in backyards, making them more vulnerable to avian flu.
Bird flu was first detected in Egypt in February 2006 and has spread to at least 19 of the country s 26 provinces.
The H5N1 strain has hit at least 45 countries and killed more than 150 people worldwide. The discovery of avian flu in the Middle East has led to widespread culling of birds.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that mutations in the virus have been found in two fatalities in Egypt, in a form that might be resistant to Tamiflu, a drug also known as oseltamivir most commonly used to treat the disease.
The WHO said the mutations were not drastic enough to spark a pandemic, but more mutations could prompt scientists to rethink current treatment strategies.