Egyptian 6-year-old Dies of Bird Flu; 4-Year-Old Gets Disease
By Alaa Shahine
April 21 (Bloomberg) -- A 6-year-old boy died in Egypt after contracting avian influenza, becoming the countryâ€™s 24th human casualty of the disease since 2006, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported today.
Egypt has the highest number of avian-flu cases outside Asia, according to the most recent data from the World Health Organization, a UN agency. With the newest reports, the number of infected people there has reached 67.
The boy, Ali Mohamed Ali, is the first fatality attributed to the virus in Egypt this year, the news agency quoted Abdel- Rahman Shahine, a spokesman for the Health Ministry, as saying. The boy had shown symptoms of the virus on March 22 after coming in contact with dead birds, Shahine said.
The Health Ministry reported the 67th infection earlier today, saying 4-year-old Ahmed Kamaleddin has contracted the virus. He was in the hospital in what was described as stable condition.
Kamaleddin was given Roche Holding AGâ€™s drug Tamiflu as a treatment, the news agency quoted Shahine as saying.
Roche, of Basel, Switzerland, says the antiviral medicine can reduce the severity and duration of flu symptoms if taken within 48 hours of the onset of disease. Early treatment for the H5N1 avian flu, the type that can be fatal in humans, may improve survival, some uncontrolled studies have shown.
Egypt has asked the World Health Organization to help investigate an outbreak of the so-called bird flu after a dozen non-fatal cases of the disease this year prompted speculation the virus may be becoming less virulent.
To contact the reporter on this story: Alaa Shahine in Cairo at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: April 21, 2009 14:45 EDThttp://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601124&sid=aBQ9cmxVYmZw&refer=home#