Four-year-old girl contracts bird flu, latest of 23 Egyptians to get the disease

A four-year-old girl has contracted the potentially fatal virus of bird flu, becoming the 23rd Egyptian to go down with the disease since it appeared in the country last year, the semi-official Middle East News Agency has reported.

Sara el-Sayyed Burhan is in a stable condition at a Cairo hospital, Health Ministry spokesman Abdul Rahman Shahin said in a statement issued late Tuesday.

She was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday with a fever, and tested positive to the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus, the statement said.

Burhan lives in the Nile Delta province of Daqahliya, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of Cairo.

Of the 23 Egyptians who have contracted bird flu since it emerged in the country in February 2006, 13 have died, reports AP.

Most of the infected people have been women or girls, as it is they who tend to look after chickens and turkeys kept in the backyards of Egyptian homes.

Egypt is on a main route for migratory birds, who are believed to have brought disease from Asia.

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