Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Egyptian boy dies of bird flu

CAIRO — A six-year-old boy died in Egypt after contracting H5N1 avian influenza, becoming the country's 24th human casualty of the disease since 2006, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported yesterday.

Egypt has the highest number of avian-flu cases outside Asia, according to the most recent data from the World Health Organisation. With the newest reports, the number of infected people there has reached 67.

The boy is the first fatality attributed to the virus in Egypt this year, the news agency quoted a spokesman for the Health Ministry as saying. The boy had shown symptoms of the virus on March 22 after coming in contact with dead birds.

The ministry reported the 67th infection earlier yesterday, saying that a four-year-old boy had contracted the virus. The boy has been given Tamiflu and is in stable condition in hospital.

The Swiss manufacturer of the antiviral medicine, Roche, says it can reduce the severity and duration of flu symptoms if taken within 48 hours of the onset of disease. Early treatment for the H5N1 avian flu may improve survival, some uncontrolled studies have shown.

From TODAY, World – Wednesday, 22-April-2009

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