- Title: EGYPT: Egyptian officials find country's first case of H5N1 bird near Cairo
- Date: 18th February 2006
- Summary: (W4) CAIRO, EGYPT (FEBRUARY 17, 2006) (REUTERS) NIGHT VIEW OF CAIRO SKYLINE WITH FERRY ON RIVER
- Embargoed: 5th March 2006 12:00
- Location: Egypt
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Health
- Reuters ID: LVA9W5YZR0A4CKKWSVUEX5QPXF8J
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Egypt has found its first cases of H5N1 bird flu, mostly in areas near the capital, and is working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to prevent the deadly virus spreading, the government said on Friday.
The cases were found in seven sick and dead chickens in three areas -- four cases in Cairo, two in Giza next to the capital and one in Minya about 220 km (135 miles) to the south, a statement from the prime minister's office said.
"The central operations room for following bird flu received ... on Thursday, Feb. 16, the first positive result of analysis of samples afflicted with the virus H5N1," the statement issued after an emergency ministerial meeting said
The seven chickens were found in homes not in chicken farms, it said, adding that birds in those areas were killed and then buried in accordance with international standards.
"We first heard of the cases from Minya governate, and then Giza and Cairo. Seven samples were taken, and they all proved H5N1, first by the Cairo labs and then by the (unclear), which happens to be in Cairo too. Once it was confirmed, the government was very transparent, it came out and announced it publicly," said Dr. Ibrahim, El Kerday, spokesman and regional advisor of the World Health Organisation for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Tests were carried out tests on people close to the positive samples but no human cases were found, he said.
Egypt is working closely with WHO to ensure the country follows steps recommended to deal with the situation, the prime minister's office statement said.
Egypt has tested 37,000 samples from birds since the virus started spreading around the world but Thursday's were the first positive tests, the prime minister's office statement said.
Egypt has banned the import of live birds and has tightened quarantine controls at airports to keep out bird flu. It also cancelled the annual bird hunting season to minimise contacts between people and migrant birds.
H5N1 influenza remains mainly a disease of poultry, and has killed or forced the culling of more than 200 million birds across Asia, parts of the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
But it has also infected 169 people, killing 91, and is steadily mutating. If it acquires the ability to easily pass from person to person, it could cause a pandemic that would kill millions.
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