Jordan's first case of bird flu, courtesy of Egypt

The Egyptian Government says a failure to comply with instructions is the probable cause of the recurrence of avian influenza among humans there.

Apparently some poultry farmers and bird owners have refused to follow specific instructions and remain unwilling to apply the culling and sanitation demands issued by the government over six weeks ago.

This says a health ministry spokesman, is the reason there have so many cases of human bird flu in such a short space of time.

The government has worked closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to develop plans for prevention and containment, and within days of the first incident of the virus among birds in mid-February, ordered the mass culling of poultry in urban centres nationwide.

In some areas the military monitored the procedures and to date at least 10 million birds have been culled.

The WHO regional adviser for communicable diseases, Hassan al-Bushra, says farmers are being actively encouraged to cull their birds and they are urging the public to follow official sanitation instructions.

The comments came as Egypt announced a sixth suspected human case of bird flu in a 36-year-old Egyptian migrant worker 80 km south of Cairo, who reportedly contracted the disease while helping relatives carry out culling procedures.

Egypt has reported bird flu infections in five people in recent weeks, two of whom have died.

The man, a resident of Jordan, is the first human case of bird flu in Jordan and was diagnosed with the illness on his return to Amman.

A 30-year-old Egyptian woman whose infection with bird flu was reported last week is in a stable condition, but is still in intensive care.

There have been to date two human deaths from bird flu in Egypt, on 17th and the 27th March.

Health authorities have since upped awareness and health-education campaigns following the two deaths.

Jordan's neighbour Iraq has also reported infected poultry and human deaths from bird flu.

Authorities say they are preparing for new outbreaks and are giving out anti-viral drugs in the southern city of Karak where the labourer worked.

Those who had came into contact with him and travellers who arrived with him at the port of Aqaba were also being tested for the virus.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians live and work in Jordan and travel with few restrictions and officials are now trying to screen the thousands of workers who arrive from Egypt daily.

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