Bird flu kills young man in Egypt, bringing toll to 21

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CAIRO: A young man died in northern Egypt from avian influenza bringing the toll of the deadly virus in the country to 21, said the state news agency Saturday quoting health officials.

Mohammed Idris, from the northern province of Beheira, was admitted to the hospital in the port city of Alexandria with a high fever and respiratory problems on Thursday and did not respond to treatment with Tamiflu, Deputy Healthy Minister Nasr Al-Sayyed told MENA.

Idris makes Egypt s 48th case and 21st fatality from the H5N1 virus which has devastated chicken populations around the world, but has yet to become widespread among humans, despite fears the virus might mutate into something more virulent.

The virus is typically contracted by those involved in the care and slaughter of poultry, which in Egypt is generally women and children. There has only been one other case of an adult male dying from the disease in the country.

Egypt s last fatality was on March 4, when a woman in Fayoum oasis, just south of the capital Cairo, succumbed to the disease.

Egypt, which is a major route for migratory birds and home to nearly a billion chickens, according to the UN s food agency, has the most human cases of the disease in the world after Indonesia and Vietnam. -AP

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