Egypt reports 44th case of bird flu

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CAIRO: Egypt s health ministry said Tuesday that a 4-year-old girl has tested positive for bird flu, bringing the number of diagnosed with the deadly H5N1 strain in the country to 44.

The ministry said the girl, from the southern village of Sheik Massoud in Minya province, was admitted to a Cairo hospital for treatment, according to the official MENA news agency.

Of the 44 cases confirmed to date in Egypt, 19 have been fatal. Most of the infected and the fatalities have been women or girls whose families raise poultry in the backyards and who had daily contact with chickens or turkeys.

Egypt is one of the countries most affected by the H5N1 strain outside Asia, where the outbreak began in 2003. The country lies on a main route for migratory birds, which are believed to have brought the disease. Experts also link outbreaks in countries such as Egypt to a lack of financial resources and public awareness about the disease.

The H5N1 strain has hit 45 countries and led to the culling of millions of birds worldwide. The virus has infected more than 340 people and killed at least 212 since 2003, mostly in Asia. -AP

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