Death toll in Egypt from bird flu now 14

Health officials in Egypt say a teenage girl who was recently diagnosed with the deadly H5N1 bird flu has succumbed to the virus.

The 15-year-old, Marianna Kameel Mikhail, was admitted to a hospital in Cairo on Thursday and died the following Tuesday.

She had been treated with the antiviral drug Tamiflu and placed on a respirator but the Ministry of Health says the girl had been ill for up to 10 days before and the delay in getting her to hospital as soon as symptoms appeared contributed to her death.

Amr Kandeel, the director of communicable diseases at the Ministry of Health, says as with other cases the patient and her relatives denied she had been in recent contact with domestic poultry.

No others in her family appear to have contracted the deadly virus and it is thought the girl contracted the disease three weeks ago while buying chicken in a local market.

To date a total of 34 humans have contracted the lethal bird flu in Egypt and of these 14 have now died and 19 have recovered.

A two-year-old girl from central Egypt is currently receiving treatment for the virus and officials say she in a good condition.

Egypt was first hit by the H5N1 avian flu in February 2006 which resulted in the culling of much of their poultry stock causing extensive damage to both the industry and the economy.

Backyard poultry is still a feature of Egyptian life and the government has struggled to impose and enforce restrictions on the movement and sale of live poultry with the result that the nation now has the highest number of confirmed human bird flu cases outside of Asia.

Egypt is also situated directly under migrating bird flight paths.

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