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Last Updated: Monday, 25 December 2006, 17:55 GMT
Bird flu kills Egyptian teenager
A 15-year-old girl in Egypt has died of bird flu after testing positive for the H5N1 strain of the virus.

The girl, whose identity was not disclosed, died in a Cairo hospital, Egyptian news agency Mena reported.

She is the ninth person to die of bird flu in Egypt - a major route for migratory birds and one of the states worst hit by the virus outside Asia.

On Sunday a 30-year-old died after she and a brother and sister, aged 26 and 15, also fell ill.

The trio lived with 30 other family members, raising poultry in a town north of the capital, Cairo.

Family farm

The extended family share one house in the town of Zifta in Gharbiya province, about 80km (50 miles) north of Cairo.

A World Health Organization (WHO) official said the family raised ducks, and the brother and sister had become infected after slaughtering the flock in an effort to stem the spread of the H5N1 virus.

Three of the family's ducks had died of the virus, WHO confirmed.

Government officials had hoped an initial outbreak of H5N1 among poultry in February had been contained and would not further affect the country's food supply.

In the Middle East, the disease is also known to be present in Iran, Iraq, Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

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