3rd April 2009

In Egypt, the number of bird flu cases has risen yet again to 61, making six new human infections over the past month.

Egypt is the most populous Arab country and the one hit hardest by bird flu outside Asia.

A two-year-old boy from the province of Bohaira, in the north, is believed to have become infected after coming into contact with poultry carrying the disease.

The boy was taken to hospital earlier this week after coming down with a fever during a family visit, where he was treated with the drug Tamiflu.

Even though it is recommended by experts, health authorities in Egypt do not compensate farmers for birds that need to be culled.

In the last six years, at least 410 people have contracted the H5N1 avian influenza virus.

The infections have occurred in 15 countries and caused 254 human deaths, and entailed the culling of some 300 million birds in 61 countries.