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Bird Flu Reappears in Asia and Middle East December 26, 2008
Avian health worker taking poultry blood sample.
Blood sample being taken from poultry in Asia.
The re-emergence of a lethal strain of avian influenza in Hong Kong, Cambodia, Taiwan, Bangladesh, India and Egypt this month highlights the potential threat the virus poses to humans as the traditional winter flu season gets under way in the Northern Hemisphere, health experts said.

One man in Cambodia reportedly became ill after handling a dead chicken in an area where the H5N1 strain of the virus had been detected.

The World Health Organization confirmed that a 16-year-old girl in Egypt died on Dec. 16 from exposure to the H5N1 strain in a country where the virus is now endemic.

Hong Kong announced the first appearance of H5N1 in poultry for more than five years. Indonesia’s agriculture ministry says it hopes to eradicate the virus in that country by 2014.

A 2-year-old girl who died from exposure to the strain in late November became that country’s 113th fatality from the disease.

More than 20,000 chickens in northeastern India’s Assam state were culled after a fresh outbreak emerged there earlier this month.

Meanwhile, livestock officials in Bangladesh reported that the virus struck two commercial poultry farms.

Photo: World Health Organization