December 24, 2014 / 8:45 PM / 5 years ago

Tenth Egyptian dies of H5N1 bird flu - Health Ministry

CAIRO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - A five-year-old Egyptian child died from bird flu on Wednesday, the tenth death from the virus in the country out of 22 identified cases this year, the Health Ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Dr Hossam Abdel Ghaffar said the boy came to a hospital in the southern province of Aswan onMonday with “fever, sore throat and respiratory distress”.

He was transferred to another hospital, and later put on a ventilator in a third hospital where he died.

His mother said he had had contact with sick birds, the spokesman added.

Out of the 12 other surviving infected patients, eight have been discharged and four others are still sick in hospital, Abdel Ghaffar said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), from 2003 to Oct. 2, 2014, 668 laboratory-confirmed human cases of H5N1 infection have been officially reported by 16 countries. Of these cases, 393 have died.

The WHO has warned that whenever bird flu viruses are circulating in poultry, there is a risk of sporadic infections or small clusters of human cases, especially in people exposed to infected birds or contaminated environments.

Egypt’s H5N1 cases have largely been in poor rural areas in the south, where villagers, particularly women, tend to keep and slaughter poultry in the home. (Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad and Ahmed Tolba; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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