UN expresses concern over large number of bird flu patients in Egypt

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GENEVA – The World Health (WHO) on Friday said Egypt has seen a record number of avian influenza cases in humans during the past six months.

According to the UN health agency, the wave of infections meant 48 deaths attributed to the H5N1 bird flu virus, which said no other country had seen this many cases within a half-year period.

It stated that “while the risk for the current situation to escalate into an H5N1 pandemic does appear to have been changed appreciably, the situation remains a cause for considerable concern.’’

The infections were not caused by a mutation of the virus or by increased transmission humans to humans, but because farming on the rise.

However, experts from UN agencies and U.S. health authorities concluded in a joint report that some 70 per cent of patients got the virus from birds they were keeping in their backyards.

However, the world health body warned that “many farmers have been moving to poultry business, as the agricultural sector is poorly controlled by authorities.’’
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Egyptian authorities have already drawn up strategies to fight bird flu, but the WHO urged them to do a better job in implementing them and in engaging with the country’s many poultry farmers. (dpa/NAN)
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