Source AP ©

Egyptian girl dies of bird flu

A 15-year old girl has died in Egypt of bird flu. The World Health Organization spokesman said Wednesday that she probably got the infection by buying a chicken at a market.

The death of Mariana Kameel Michael, brings to 14 the number of Egyptians to have succumbed to the H5N1 virus since it first appeared in Egypt last year.

Most of the fatalities have been women or girls whose families were raising poultry in the backyards, and having daily contact with chicken or turkeys. But Mariana's family did not, said WHO spokesman Ibrahim el-Kardani.

She is believed to have contracted the virus three weeks ago when she bought a chicken at a market in Shoubra, Cairo, while shopping for her Christian family's preparations for the Easter holidays, said el-Kardani.

"She thought she wasn't exposed to chicken," el-Kardani said.

Egypt is one of the countries most affected by bird flu outside Asia, where the outbreak began. The country lies on a main route for migratory birds, which are believed to have brought the disease from Asia.

Health officials worry that the bird flu virus could mutate into a form that is easily spread from person to person, sparking a pandemic

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