Fourth bird flu death in Egypt this year

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An Egyptian woman died of H5N1 bird flu, the health ministry reported, the fourth person to die of the illness in the country this year.

A jump in the number of infections

The 47-year-old was in critical condition when she arrived at a hospital in Assiut province, a rural area where an H5N1 death was reported last week, ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar said.

The ministry announced two other cases in treatment, bringing the total number of cases in Egypt to 20 this year so far. This includes four deaths as well as six recoveries and 10 cases still under treatment, Abdel Ghaffar said.

Read: Avian influenza (bird flu)

The World Health Organisation says there has been a jump in the number of H5N1 infections in people in Egypt, but that there does not appear to have been any major genetic change in the flu strain to explain the rise in human cases.

At least 10 people died from the disease in Egypt in 2014.

The WHO said last week that between 4 December and 6 January there had been 18 new laboratory-confirmed human cases of H5N1 infection in Egypt, including four deaths, the highest ever monthly number of human cases in the country.

The WHO says that whenever bird flu viruses are circulating in poultry, there is a risk of sporadic infections or small clusters of human cases.

Egypt's H5N1 cases have largely been in poor rural areas in the south, where villagers tend to keep and slaughter poultry themselves.

Read more:

Bird flu has pandemic potential
Nigeria finds an H5 strain of bird flu in poultry
Hong Kong confirms first case of deadly bird flu


Image: Baby chicken with food from Shutterstock

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