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1st Human death in Egypt


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WHO reports Egypt's first probable bird flu death

Updated Sat. Mar. 18 2006 11:35 PM ET


Associated Press



CAIRO, Egypt — Initial tests have shown that a woman who died this week had bird flu, likely making her the first human death from the disease in Egypt, a spokesman for the World Health Organization said Saturday.


A U.S. navy lab in Cairo found that the woman, who died Friday, had the H5N1 virus, but further tests will be conducted by the WHO to give final confirmation, WHO spokesman Hassan el-Bushra told The Associated Press.


A number of people who came in contact with the woman are also being tested, said el-Bushra, WHO regional adviser for emerging diseases. He would not say how many people were being tested or whether they had shown any symptoms.


The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed or forced the slaughter of tens of millions of chickens and ducks across Asia since 2003, and recently spread to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Health officials fear H5N1 could evolve into a virus that can be transmitted among people and become a global pandemic.


At least 97 people _ excluding the Egyptian woman _ have died from the disease, two-thirds of them in Indonesia and Vietnam, according to figures by the World Health Organization.



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