A young Egyptian woman has died from bird flu, the second death from the virus this year, a health ministry spokesman said.
The 19-year-old contracted the deadly H5N1 strain after coming into contact with infected birds and died Monday at a hospital in the southern region of Assiut.
Egypt has identified seven cases of the virus in people this year, including the two who died, spokesman Hosam Abdel Gaffar said.
Deadly chicken: The 19-year-old contracted bird flu after coming into contact with infected poultry, and died Monday at a hospital in the southern region of Assiut (stock image)
Egypt’s health ministry had announced in an earlier statement the discovery of the disease in a 30-year-old woman in the southern area of Minya, bringing to seven the number of confirmed Egyptian cases of the disease.
Another of the victims was a three-year-old who had been exposed to infected birds and was doing well, it said.
Bird flu, also known as avian flu, is an infectious viral illness that spreads among birds.
In rare cases, it can jump the species barrier and infect humans. Two strains in particular – H5N1 and H7N9 – have caused serious concern among experts in recent years.
This follows Britain’s first bird flu outbreak since 2008, which was reported this weekend.
An Egyptian health worker gives vaccinations to chickens at a house north of Cairo (stock image)
The virus has been discovered at a duck farm in the village of Nafferton, East Yorkshire.
The virus is from the H5 group and is still being tested – though officials insist it is not the dangerous H5N1 strain and should pose little risk to humans.
But all 6,000 ducks on the stricken farm – run by specialist duck supplier Cherry Valley – will be culled ‘immediately’ to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
The alarm was raised after a private vet visited the farm and had suspicions that the virus was present, so alerted the Animal and Plant Health Agency, who swiftly contacted Defra.
John Vernam, the managing director of Cherry Valley – which supplies crispy Peking duck meals for Chinese restaurants – said: ‘I can confirm that a farm operated by Cherry Valley has today tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza.
‘Culling and disinfection will be carried out under the authority of Defra and the APHA.
‘Avian influenza is a disease of birds and the risk to the general public is judged by health experts to be negligible.
‘We are working closely with Defra and other agencies and are confident that the controls in place are proportionate to the risks involved.
‘We will be continuing our vigilance over the coming days and, like all poultry producers in the area, will be working with the authorities in the ongoing surveillance programme.’
Officials are investigating whether the outbreak is linked to a discovery of the non-human H5N8 strain at a farm in the Netherlands yesterday – but test results are only expected in a few days.
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