Saturday, February 18, 2006

Clouds on the horizon Top Worldwide: "Iraq reported a second bird-flu fatality, pushing the monthly global death tally to a two-year high as the spread of the lethal virus widened in Europe and the Middle East, with outbreaks in birds in France and Egypt.

"An Iraqi man from the northern province of Sulaimaniyah tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza virus, the World Health Organization said yesterday, citing information from Iraq's health ministry. The 39-year-old, who developed symptoms on Jan. 18 and died 10 days later, is the uncle of the country's initial case, a 15-year-old girl who died Jan. 17, the WHO said.

"New outbreaks in birds are being reported daily across Europe, the Middle East and western Asia, creating more opportunity for human infection and increasing the risk of the virus changing into a pandemic form. The latest death in Iraq brings to 10 the number of fatalities confirmed this month, the highest since February 2004, when 14 deaths were reported."

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