Various media accounts today (computer translated) say that at least four people in Libya have died from H5N1 avian influenza infections in recent days.
The Libya Health Minister, Rida al-Awkali said three cases occurred in the capital of Tripoli, while another occurred in the city of Tobruk near the Libyan-Egyptian border east of the country.
In addition, the health minister said a fifth person, also from Tobruk, is suspected of having contracted the lethal disease.
If verified and confirmed, these will be the first human cases reported in Libya. The North African country has reported H5N1 in birds in the past.
The health minister said he was informed by the World Health Organization (WHO) that a team of experts would be arriving in the country to assess the situation.
Since 2003, more than 675 human H5N1 avian influenza cases have been reported to the World Health Organization, approximately 60 percent died from their disease. Egypt follow only Indonesia in total number of cases reported since 2003.
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