CAIRO: Six Egyptians who were suspected of having the deadly bird flu virus after displaying flu-like symptoms have tested negative for the disease, a World Health Organization official said on Sunday. They are all negative, said John Jabbour, a WHO official in Cairo. State news agency Mena had reported on Saturday that six Egyptians near the town of Fayoum, where a 17-year-old girl died from bird flu last week, were suspected of having contracted H5N1. One was reported to be seriously ill.
Egypt has the largest known cluster of human bird flu cases outside of Asia. Some 20 people are known to have contracted the disease in Egypt since the virus first surfaced in Egyptian poultry a year ago.
Twelve have died. In January, the World Health Organization said two people who had died of bird flu in Egypt in December were found to have a strain of the virus which has shown moderate resistance to the frontline anti-viral Tamiflu. Jabbour has said that strain has not re-appeared, and the version of the virus that killed the 17-year-old from Fayoum was not resistant to Tamiflu.
But he said the girl was diagnosed too late for Tamiflu to reverse the course of the disease.