Egypt reports 66th bird flu case

Less than one week after reporting the 65th human infection of the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus, the Egyptian health ministry has reported that a baby girl has contracted the virus. The case of the one-and-a-half-year-old baby brings the total number of human infections in the country to 66.

Egypt is the hardest-hit nation for bird flu outside East Asia.

The fact that the country lies along the migratory routes of birds from Europe, Asia and Africa, and the lack of awareness among the poorer segments of society who rely on poultry for subsistence, have worsen the impact of the disease.

The most recent case comes from the Kafr El Sheikh governorate north of Cairo and the little girl, identified as Ibrahim Al Manar, is currently in a critical condition, despite receiving the anti-virul drug Tami flu, the ministry told PANA on Monday.

Since the virus was first reported in humans in March 2006, it has claimed 23 lives in Egypt.

According to the latest statistics of the World Health Organization, some 418 people in 15 countries and regions have contracted the virus and 257 of them have died of the disease.