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Homeland Security

Bird Flu Death in Egypt; Outbreak Hits Dutch Farm

by VOA News November 17, 2014

A second woman in Egypt has died of bird flu. The woman, who died of the H5N1 virus after tending chickens at her home, was the second such fatality in Egypt this year.

The European Union is expected to outline steps to contain the highly contagious virus after two poultry farms in Britain and the Netherlands confirmed outbreaks of different strains of the virus.

Dutch officials destroyed 150,000 chickens in an effort to contain the outbreak on a farm in Hekendorp, a village in the middle of the country.

The outbreak is the second involving the H5N8 strain of flu in Europe after it was found at a German farm earlier this month.

A Dutch Economic Ministry spokesman said Sunday the strain is 'highly pathogenic' in birds, and the government announced a 72-hour ban on the transport of poultry, eggs and manure.

European Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso told the Reuters news agency the commission will likely adopt 'urgent interim protective measures' Monday involving similar bans on sales of poultry products and eggs.

Meanwhile, British officials confirmed a bird flu case at a duck farm east of Yorkshire where birds are also being killed to prevent the disease from spreading.

The strain there has not been identified, but officials said there is low risk to the public or the food chain.

Bird flu viruses normally infect birds and not people, but several types, such as the H5N1 strain, have caused severe respiratory illness in humans.

Data from the World Health Organization shows H5N1 has killed about 400 people in the past 10 years, while a newer strain called H7N9 has killed 175 others since being discovered last year.

Most of those infected have close contact with infected poultry or things contaminated with their feces.

Some information for this report comes from AFP and Reuters.

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