Bird Flu Hits Brother,
Sister In Egypt


(Reuters) -- Human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 [avian influenza] virus between a brother and sister in Egypt cannot be ruled out yet, although both siblings seem to have been exposed to sick birds, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tue [3 Apr 2007].
A 4-year-old boy, from Qena province around 670 km (400 miles) south of Cairo, was among 3 human cases announced by the Health Ministry at the weekend. His 6-year-old sister was one of 2 children diagnosed with the virus infection late last week. "Human to human transmission cannot yet be ruled out. We are continuing investigations," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in Geneva. "But we know all the children had exposure to sick or dead birds."
In all, 5 Egyptian children have been reported as being in hospital in stable condition. "Egypt has an extremely good record of child survival of H5N1 virus infection," Hartl added.
The highly pathogenic H5N1 virus is not easily transmissible between people, although there has been evidence of several clusters involving human-to-human transmission over the past 3 years, according to the WHO. Egypt has the highest number of confirmed human bird flu cases outside Asia. Of the 32 confirmed cases in the country to date, 13 have been fatal.



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