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Last Updated: Monday, 31 December 2007, 22:03 GMT
Egypt records 19th bird flu death
An Egyptian zoo keeper sprays disinfectant in duck cages at the Giza zoo, south of Cairo (file image)
Many Egyptians keep poultry in their homes
A second woman from Egypt's Nile Delta region died of bird flu on Monday, the health ministry said, bringing the week's toll from the virus to four.

The deaths are thought to have resulted from exposure to poultry infected with the H5N1 strain. Two other women tested positive for the virus on Friday.

Nineteen people have now died of bird flu in Egypt in the past two years.

The government says the large number of people who keep poultry at home makes it difficult to eradicate the disease.


Egypt has the largest known number of human cases of bird flu outside Asia and most of those who have contracted the virus have died.

Most of the Egyptians who have died have been women.

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

The World Health Organization announced early this year that some of those who had died in Egypt had been infected with a strain of the virus that was showed moderate resistance to the antiviral drug, Tamiflu.

More than 213 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.

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