A 17-year-old girl is the next to succumb to bird flu, bringing the death toll from the dreaded disease in the country, to 20.
Hassan el-Bushra, regional adviser for communicable diseases surveillance for the World Health Organization said the girl was believed to have been infected after coming into contact with sick and dead birds.
AdvertisementEgypt's state news agency MENA identified the girl as Nouri Nadi of Fayyoum province.
Bushra said she had started showing symptoms of the illness in late January, but initial tests had indicated she had seasonal flu. Later tests were positive for the H5N1 virus.
Egypt found the first bird flu case in dead poultry on Feb. 17, 2006 and then the virus spread to 20 of the country's 26 governorates.
The outbreak, which occurred in a poultry farm, caused widespread panic and brought to poultry industry to a halt.
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.
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 has reported that mutations in the virus have been found in two fatalities in Egypt though these were not drastic enough to spark a pandemic.
Yet more mutations could prompt scientists to rethink current treatment strategies.
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