Lebanese boy tests negative for bird flu

A 6-year-old Lebanese boy suspected of having bird flu was released from the hospital Saturday after tests showed he was not infected with the disease, his doctor said. Mohammed Bilal Taleb was transferred from his home in northern Lebanon to a state hospital in Beirut on Thursday suffering a high fever. "We have carried out all necessary tests on Taleb. He tested negative for the bird flu virus," Dr. Pierre Abi Hanna, who treated the boy at Beirut State Hospital, told The Associated Press. Lebanon has had no cases of bird flu so far, either among birds or humans. On Friday, Dr. Hassan Shadid, the chief medical officer for the northern province of Akkar, said Taleb had been in contact with chickens in Fneidek, a village 120 kilometers north of Beirut, where a number of chickens recently died. The official National News Agency reported Friday that several dead birds, including one migratory fowl, have been found in the northern district of Dinniyah during the past few weeks, but it is thought they died of a severe cold spell in the mountainous region.