Tripoli: Five people have died in Libya as a result of bird flu, an official said Monday. 

Baderedin al-Neyar, director of the National Centre for Disease Control, however, declined to speculate on the source of the infection. He said three cases were recorded in the eastern city of Tobruk, along the border with Egypt, and the other two in the capital Tripoli. Al-Neyar said the two deaths at the medical centre of Tripoli were caused by the type A virus, without specifying the type of virus that killed the other three victims in Tobruk, or indicating when the deaths occurred. He said five more people with the disease were undergoing treatment at a specialised centre in the Libyan capital. Avian influenza, known informally as avian flu or bird flu, refers to influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds. It has caused a global concern because of its possible transmission to humans and the threat of a pandemic if it mutates to a form that can be easily passed from birds to humans and then, from human to human.

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