Second Turk dies from bird flu, more suspected to be infected

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Friday, January 6, 2006

A 15 year old female has been the second person to die in Turkey from bird flu. The news follows the death of her brother on Sunday. Six people from another Turkish province are also thought to be infected, bringing the total number of suspected cases in Turkey to 18.

It has been revealed by Turkish officials that samples from the boy tested positive to the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

The deaths are the first from H5N1 outside of Asia. Around 70 people have died from the virus in the last two years. Of those infected, over half have died.

In an attempt to stop the virus from spreading, the Turkish government have placed five areas of eastern Turkey near Dogubayazit, the affected village, under quarantine. The sale and movement of animals in the region has been banned, livestock is to be kept in enclosed areas, and a hunting ban is also in place in the east.

The Turkish government will make 7m lire (US$5.2m, €4.3m, £3m) available to farmers who surrender their poultry for culling to prevent the virus spreading further.

The World Health Organisation are sending a team of experts to Turkey to determine how best to deal with the outbreak.

Authorities are urging people not to panic and reasssuring them that the outbreak does not mean a pandemic. At this stage, the virus is only transferred to humans from close contact with infected fowl.