In Egypt, three family members died of H5N1 in late December, likely contracted from infected poultry in the household. On Jan. 12, Nigeria announced a cull of over 20,000 birds after two farms reported outbreaks.
In the north, more than 100 ducks were found dead from H5N1 on Jan. 10; further south, the disease killed several wild birds in December. A major poultry exporter, Thailand is a hot zone for the virus; 17 Thais have died from it since 2003.
Indonesia, where millions of people live in close quarters with live poultry, led the world with 57 human fatalities by the end of 2006. Four more people have died since Jan. 10, and several patients remain hospitalized. The 18-year-old son of one victim tested positive for H5N1 as well, raising fears of human-to-human transmission.
A scaly-breasted munia found dead in a crowded shopping district on New Year's Eve and a crested goshawk collected on Jan. 9 both tested positive for H5N1, prompting concerns that the virus had returned to the city that reported the world's first human cases in 1997.
Seven of Vietnam's 64 provinces have reported poultry outbreaks this year, and over 30,000 birds have been culled since December. Officials fear that caged birds being moved on crowded buses and trains during next month's Lunar New Year festivities could spread the virus throughout the country. Over the past four years, 42 people in Vietnam have died of avian flu.