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Last Updated: Friday, 17 February 2006, 17:14 GMT
Egypt finds deadly bird flu virus
Chickens
Many Egyptians raise their own chickens for food
Egypt has detected its first cases of the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain in three areas in the country, including the capital, Cairo.

The government confirmed that the virus was found in four chickens in Cairo, two in nearby Giza and one in Minya, 220km (135 miles) south of the capital.

The health ministry said tests were carried out on people living nearby, but no human cases had been detected.

Ministers have held an emergency meeting to discuss the situation.

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"The central operations room for following bird flu received... the first positive result of analysis of samples afflicted with the virus H5N1," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

The cases were confirmed earlier by officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Outbreaks

The FAO's Dr Talib Elham was quoted by the Associated Press as saying the disease appeared to have moved north after an infected bird was taken to market in the capital, Cairo.

EGYPT
Heavily dependent on poultry for food
Millions of Egyptians raise their own chickens

The first cases of H5N1 on the African continent were confirmed last week when the virus was found in Nigeria.

The disease has spread west from its original hotspot in South-East Asia. Cases have also been confirmed in Europe.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed at least 90 people since early 2003, mostly in South-East Asia.

The virus can infect humans in close contact with birds. There is still no evidence that it can be passed from human to human.


SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Egypt
22 Dec 05 |  Country profiles


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