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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 08:29 GMT
Egypt teenager dies of bird flu
An Egyptian zoo keeper sprays disinfectant in duck cages at the Giza zoo, south of Cairo (file image)
The girl is believed to have had contact with sick and infected birds
A 17-year-old Egyptian girl has died from bird flu, bringing to 12 the number of confirmed deaths from the disease in the country.

Nouri Nadi, from Fayyoum, was admitted to hospital a week ago after being initially diagnosed with human flu.

It is believed that she became infected with avian influenza after coming into contact with sick and infected birds.

The latest death brings the number of known infections in Egypt to 20, the largest human cluster beyond Asia.

Of the 12 people who have died from the illness in Egypt, 11 have been women.

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Women and girls are often responsible for looking after poultry in Egypt.

The virus has been detected in at least 19 of the country's 26 provinces.

Mutation

Officials said it was too early to know if the latest victim had been infected with a mutated strain of the virus.

Several weeks ago, the World Health Organization announced that two of those who had died had been infected with a strain of the virus that was showed moderate resistance to the antiviral drug, Tamiflu.

More than 80 people have died of H5N1 bird flu since the disease's resurgence in December 2003 - most of them in South-East Asia.

Experts point out that cross-infection to humans is still relatively rare and usually occurs where people have been in close contact with infected birds.

But they say if the H5N1 strain mutates so it can be passed between humans, it could become a global pandemic, killing millions.


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