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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 December 2006, 15:08 GMT
Egypt reports 10th bird flu death
A 26-year-old man has died in Egypt of bird flu after testing positive for the H5N1 strain of the virus.

Reda Abdel Halim Farid is the 10th person to die of bird flu in Egypt - and the third to die since Sunday.

The country is a major route for migratory birds and one of the states worst hit by the virus outside Asia.

A girl aged 15 died on Monday and a 30-year-old woman on Sunday. All three were from an extended family living in the Nile Delta province of Gharbiya.

They are said to have shared one house with 30 other family members, raising poultry in the town of Zifta, about 80km (50 miles) north of Cairo.

The man died about 10 days after being admitted to hospital showing symptoms of the disease.

Dead ducks

A World Health Organization (WHO) official said the family raised ducks, and that members 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.

But a health ministry adviser told the AFP news agency that the latest outbreak was not unexpected.

"When we had a period of calm between May and October, people started thinking the disease was over, but we insisted on creating more awareness among the people," Abdel Rahman Shaheen said.

"We are still expecting more cases but the idea is to keep them to the smallest possible number."

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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