Avian Influenza Suspected
In Death Of Iraqi Girl
By Twana Osman and Mariam Karouny

(Reuters) -- Health officials in northern Iraq have sent samples to Jordan for testing for avian influenza virus H5N1 after a 14 year old girl died in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya, officials said on Wednesday.
The girl died on arrival at the main hospital on Tuesday [17 Jan 2006] after falling ill 15 days earlier in her home town of Raniya, in Kurdistan close to the Turkish and Iranian borders, Kurdish regional health minister Mohammed Khashnow said. "The doctors in Sulaimaniya suspected this might be a case (of avian influenza)," he told Reuters.
"They have sent samples to Amman and we will know the results next week. The rest of the family is in good health," he added, [adding that] the family was not in the poultry business.
An Iraqi Health Ministry spokesman confirmed the suspected case and a senior central government health official in Baghdad confirmed that a team had been dispatched to investigate. "We were informed about it yesterday at noon (0900 GMT). We sent a team this morning to check it out. We're expecting to hear from them this afternoon with an initial report," said Abdul Jalil Hassan, the head of a government committee set up to monitor the threat after people died in neighbouring Turkey.
"They will take samples and should have an idea of whether it is the bird flu virus by this afternoon," he told Reuters. "We are not aware of any other cases in Iraq."
Raniya, the girl's home town, lies north of Lake Dukan, about 20 km (12 miles) west of the Iranian border, near the Iranian city of Piranshahr. It is about 100 km (60 miles) south of the Turkish border. In Zakho, an Iraqi Kurdish frontier city a few kilometres from both the Turkish and Syrian borders, all poultry were being slaughtered and burned, a Kurdish regional government official said.



This Site Served by TheHostPros