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Further bird flu outbreak in Egypt

Another case of H5N1 avian flu in birds has been confirmed in Egypt, according to Ministry of Health officials and World Health Organisation (WHO) staff.

The infected birds were found in a house near Aswan, in Upper Egypt, where they were raised in a family backyard.

WHO spokesman Hassan el-Bushra said that the infected animals have now been culled. He said that Ministry of Health officials are following WHO-approved control measures.

Animals within a one-kilometre radius of the site of infection have been culled and removed for sterile burial.

Outside Asia, Egypt has suffered the worst avian flu outbreaks, with fourteen human cases of bird flu discovered since mid-March, and six human fatalities. The most recent case was a 75-year-old woman who died on 18 May.

The first cases of avian flu among poultry were announced in mid-February, leading to the cull of more than 20 million birds nationwide, up until May.

Specialists say that the overwhelming majority of human cases in Egypt have been women who were infected by domestically kept birds.

Shortly after the bird flu cases were first discovered, a law was passed banning domestic breeding in urban areas. No ban exists in rural areas, however, where domestic breeding is more widespread and is the livelihood of many families.

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