The first human bird flu related death has been reported in Egypt, the most populous North African country. Laboratory examinations revealed that the 30 year old woman , indeed died as a consequence of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu.
The victim from Nawa village in Qalyubiya, some 40 km north of here, died early Friday morning in a Cairo hospital where she had been treated for flu-like symptoms, the health ministry said in a statement.
Medical experts had detected the H5N1 bird flu virus in her blood samples, said the ministry, adding that more samples of the woman had been sent to Britain for further tests.
The statement also said the woman had raised some chickens at her home despite an official ban since the country suffered its first bird flu outbreak among wild birds and poultry in February.
Some of the woman's chickens had died before she showed flu-like symptoms and checked in a local hospital, it said.
An Egyptian health ministry spokesman said a state of emergency was declared in all virology hospitals in anticipation of possibly more human bird flu cases.
Egypt reported its first case of the H5N1 strain of bird flu Feb 17 and the government has since launched an aggressive campaign to bring the spread of the disease under control.
The deadly H5N1 strain has killed over 90 people worldwide since late 2003, according to the World Health Organisation.
The virus currently can pass only from birds to humans, but scientists fear that it could mutate into a form capable of passing easily among humans and thus spark a global human flu pandemic that might kill millions.