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Bird flu

Drug-Resistant Bird Flu Strain Killing Egyptians

Sunday, July 13, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: bird flu, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Some of the 19 people who have died from the avian flu in Egypt in the last two years were killed by a strain that shows moderate drug resistance, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced.

Four people died from the H5N1 strain of bird flu in Egypt during the last week of December (2007?), bringing the country's death toll from the disease to 19. This represents more than 40 percent of the 43 people who are known to have been infected by the disease.

All four recent victims were women between the ages of 25 and 50, and all are believed to have had close contact with infected poultry. One of the women was a chicken seller, and the others were believed to keep domestic fowl in their homes.

Keeping live poultry at home is a common practice in Egypt. Because it is usually women and girls who care for these animals, most of those to contract bird flu so far have been women.

According to the WHO, at least some of the 43 Egyptian bird flu patients were infected with a strain that shows at least moderate resistance to the popular antiviral drug Tamiflu.

In response to the recent deaths, the Egyptian government has secured 85 million doses of flu vaccine in order to vaccinate live poultry against the disease. A total of 3,000 veterinarians, assistants and drivers are confirmed to participate in the program. The government has also killed 1,599 birds that were suspected to be infected, then buried their bodies between two layers of white lime. Several local governments have launched programs to intensify inspections and regulations of poultry kept in farms and homes.

A total of 213 people around the world have died from bird flu since the disease re-emerged in 2003. Most of those lived in Southeast Asia, where the disease has been most prevalent. The Egyptian outbreak represents the largest cluster of bird flu cases outside of Asia to date.

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