From: Reuters
Published December 26, 2007 09:01 AM

Egyptian woman dies of bird flu

CAIRO (Reuters) - A 25-year-old Egyptian woman has died of bird flu, Egypt's Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

It is the first human death in Egypt from the virus since June and the 16th since the disease arrived in early 2006.

The ministry named the woman as Ola Younis from Beni Haroun village in Beni Suef province, south of Cairo.

She entered Beni Suef hospital on December 21 with a high temperature and breathing problems, was diagnosed on Tuesday and died the same day, it said in a statement.

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Younis had been in contact with birds thought to be infected with bird flu, the ministry said. The state news agency MENA said health officials were checking her relatives to see whether they showed traces of the virus.

The H5N1 virus which causes bird flu tends to lie dormant during the summer and Egyptian officials had hoped that after two years of outbreaks it would not re-occur this winter.

The case brings the total among humans in Egypt to 39.

The death toll is the highest for any country outside Asia and could reflect the high population density in agricultural parts of Egypt.

(Writing by Jonathan Wright; editing by Robert Woodward)

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