CAIRO: Egypt has found its first cases of H5N1 bird flu and is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent the deadly virus spreading, the government said on Friday.
The virus was found in seven sick and dead chickens in three areas. Four birds 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, said the statement, issued after an emergency ministerial meeting.
The seven chickens were found in homes, not in chicken farms, it said, adding that birds in the areas were killed and buried in accordance with international standards. The Health Ministry carried out tests on people living nearby but no human cases were found, it said.
Egypt has tested 37,000 samples from birds since the virus started spreading around the world but Thursday s were the first positive results, it said.
At emergency ministerial meeting were Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and the ministers of agriculture, interior, defense, environment and information, as well as the governors of Cairo and Giza and Health Ministry representatives.
Egypt has banned the import of live birds and has tightened quarantine controls to keep out bird flu. It also cancelled the annual bird hunting season to minimize 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 pass easily from person to person, it could cause a pandemic that might kill millions. Reuters