Egypt is bracing itself for an outbreak of the deadly bird flu following reports of four new cases in Cairo and Sohaj governorates.
The first of these cases was reported in the village of Al-Rakakna, in the Sohag province, some 490 kilometers or 305 miles south of Cairo.
Following this report all poultry on the farm were slaughtered and tests are underway to check that none of the people who had been in contact with the infected animals have been infected themselves.
According to Health Minister Hatem Al-Jabali several hospitals have been put on full alert ahead of the start of the bird migration season.
The minister added that joint teams from the ministries of health, venereal disease, environment, and agriculture department have been formed to detect suspicious bird flu cases.
He also said that random samples would be taken from birds in various villages and farms so that the disease may be contained.
Al-Jabali warned against inappropriate slaughter of birds and advised those concerned to take all necessary preventive measures in this.
Egypt reported the last human case of H5N1 last May and out of the 14 human cases of avian influenza which have been reported among Egyptians since mid-March, six proved to be fatal and eight people recovered after being treated with the drug Tamiflu.