13 people died of bird flu in Egypt

A 27-year-old housewife contracted the lethal H5N1 virus after coming into contact with chickens in her village in the northern province of Menoufia, Health Minister Hatem el-Gabaly said in a statement.

The woman, whose name was not released, was admitted to a government hospital in Cairo on Monday and her condition was stable, el-Gabaly said.

The new case raises the number of Egyptians infected with bird flu to 13.

All four of the Egyptian fatalities were women.

Since the disease was first detected in Egyptian birds in February, the it has spread to 19 of the country's 26 provinces.

Egypt lies on a migratory route for wild birds.

Discovery of the disease in birds in several Middle Eastern countries sparked widespread culling. But Egypt, Iraq and Turkey are the only ones to have had human fatalities.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has hit 45 countries has and killed more than a hundred people worldwide. It has resulted in the culling of millions of birds.