02/28/2007, 00.00
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Bird flu strikes again in Laos and Egypt

There are more human cases in the two countries. Outbreaks are reported in various regions from Africa to the Far East. Winter and bird migrations are seen as the main cause. Health authorities impose quarantine and cull entire stocks.

Vientiane (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A 15-year old girl is the first person to become ill with the bird flu in Laos. A few days ago another girl came down with the disease in Egypt. Other cases of infection resulting from contacts with birds were reported in Kuwait and Vietnam.

The Laotian girl who developed influenza-like symptoms on February 10 was hospitalised in Vientiane with a fever and respiratory problems on February 15, before being transferred to a private hospital in Thailand's Nongkhai province.

She is from Dongsavath village in Sisattanak district, where an outbreak of the H5N1 strain in poultry was confirmed on February 7.

The Director of Vientiane's Health Department, Dr Inlavan Keobounphan, said the girl had not been in contact with chickens.

Health authorities acknowledged the outbreak and announced strict controls. And health teams have surveyed and interviewed residents in more than 7,800 households in 20 villages of Xaysettha and Sisattanak districts. Residents were urged to report any sudden large-scale death of birds.

Relatives of the young girl have been placed under observation but have so far shown to be in good health.

Bird flu first broke out in Laos in January 2004 on 45 farms around Vientiane and in the provinces of Savannakhet and Champassak. The outbreak was suppressed with the slaughter of 155,000 chickens.

In July 2006, bird flu broke out again in Vientiane’s Xaythany district, where authorities culled around 20,000 poultry.

Now it is hoped that warmer weather might reduce infections. Still there are concerns that poultry and migratory birds might come into contact.

Vietnam. Although the disease has not yet been totally conquered, duck hunting will open tomorrow in the northern part of the country. For the health minister the outbreak has been contained. Still some 10,500 were culled on February 18.

Vietnam, where 42 people have been confirmed to have died of bird flu, has not had a human case since November 2005.

Afghanistan. In the last week two outbreaks have been confirmed on small farms in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces.

Egypt. A four-year-old Egyptian girl is the 23rd case among humans in Egypt. The authorities reported that Sara Sayed Burhan from Nabarouh in the Nile Delta province of Dakahlia is in a hospital in the provincial capital of Mansoura. Her relatives are undergoing tests to see whether they too are infected.

Kuwait. The number of confirmed bird flu cases among birds has risen to 39 in the last three days, including some in a zoo, a Health Ministry spokesman said.

Before the latest cases, Kuwait had registered one case of the deadly strain in a migrating flamingo in 2005.

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See also
Avian Flu kills a girl in Vientiane
Avian flu claims more human victims
New human bird flu cases suspected in Vietnam and China
WHO: China may have unidentified bird flu outbreaks
Bird flu kills again in Indonesia


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