Two-year-old Egyptian boy has bird flu
CAIRO (Reuters) - A two-year-old Egyptian boy has contracted bird flu but is in a stable condition, the state-run news agency quoted the Health Ministry as saying on Wednesday.
The Middle East News Agency (MENA) quoted ministry spokesman Abdelrahman Shahine as saying Abdullah Nagy Amran, from Alexandria province in northern Egypt, showed symptoms on Wednesday after coming into contact with dead birds.
He was given the antiviral drug Tamiflu at an Alexandria hospital, MENA said. It was not yet known if he had the H5N1 virus.
Egypt is one of the few countries affected by bird flu that does not compensate farmers when poultry is destroyed, though many experts say this is the best way to ensure rapid detection of new outbreaks.
Some 5 million Egyptian households depend on poultry as a main source of food and income.
Since 2003, the H5N1 avian influenza virus has infected at least 409 people in 15 countries and killed 254 of them. It has killed or forced the culling of more than 300 million birds in 61 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
While H5N1 rarely infects people, experts fear it could mutate into a form that people could easily pass to one another, sparking a pandemic that could kill millions.
(Writing by Will Rasmussen, editing by Tim Pearce)
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