Egypt reports 19th human case of deadly bird flu

Bird flu has infected another Egyptian, bringing to 19 the number of cases afflicted with the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus, according to reports Thursday in Egyptian media.

The reports, citing health authorities, said that a housewife from Beni Suef, about 90 kilometers (60 miles) south of Cairo, tested positive for the avian flu strain and was admitted to hospital for treatment.

The Middle East News Agency did not say how the woman contracted the virus. Most people get it through contact with infected birds which they raise at home, or while slaughtering or cleaning chicken.

Meanwhile, three other bird flu cases in humans were suspected in the eastern province of Ismailiya and the southern city of Sohag, while three other provinces have declared a state of emergency after new bird flu cases were detected in domestic fowl, reported the independent al-Masri al-Youm daily.

Ten Egyptians have died of bird flu so far, nine of them women. In Egypt, women and girls tend to look after chickens and turkeys kept in backyards, making them more vulnerable to avian flu, reports AP.

Bird flu was first detected in Egypt in February 2006 and has spread to at least 19 of the country's 26 provinces. The discovery of avian flu in the Middle East has led to widespread culling of birds.

The H5N1 strain has hit at least 45 countries and killed more than 150 people worldwide.

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