Turkey - Human H5N1
Bird Flu Cases Rise To 32

The Scotsman

The number of suspected avian influenza cases in humans in Turkey has reached at least 32. And the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed that at least two patients, a brother and a sister who died, had tested positive for avian influenza virus infection.
A British laboratory has found that the two teenagers who died earlier this week had contracted avian influenza and WHO spokeswoman Christine McNab in Geneva said scientists were closing in on identifying that the virus as the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza virus. "If it's confirmed, these would be the first human cases outside China and Southeast Asia," McNab said on Friday [6 Jan 2006] The H5N1 avian influenza virus has already killed more than 70 [currently 74] people in East Asia since 2003. [Scientists] are closely monitoring the H5N1 virus for fear it could mutate into a form easily passed among humans and spark a pandemic.
[The Turkish] Health Minister Recep Akdag, who was to travel to Van with a six-member delegation from WHO on Saturday, said Turkish authorities did not believe the disease had passed from human to human. "There is no suspicion, for the time being," he said. Birds in Turkey, Romania, Russia and Croatia have recently tested positive for [the H5N1 virus].
An 11-year-old girl died on Friday [6 Jan 2006] of suspected bird flu in eastern Turkey days after her teenage brother and sister succumbed to the disease. Their doctor said they probably contracted the illness by playing with dead chickens. The British lab also confirmed that another child had tested positive for avian influenza virus infection, said a Turkish health ministry official.
Turkey - Children Died Because
They Entered Hen House First
Anadolu News Agency
Professor Mehmet Doganay, the Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Department Head at Erciyes University, announced that the children were affected by avian influenza virus first because they entered the hen houses in the region.
Elaborating the reasons behind the three deaths of the children, Doganay told children living in villages enter hen houses and that increases the death ratio among children as they become infected by the bird flu virus. "People living in Agri have a few chickens and the hen houses are small. Children enter these hen houses and get infected by the virus."
(Presumably adults do not normally enter these hen houses and children are responsible for their maintenance. This could be a reason for the mortality in children. - Mod.CP)
Turkey - Family Who Ate Sick Chicken
Being Checked For Avian Influenza
DIYARBAKIR (Reuters) -- Four members of a Turkish family who fell ill after eating a sick chicken were in hospital on Saturday, shortly after three children from another family in eastern Turkey died of avian influenza virus infection, an official said. A poultry trader, his wife and two children, from the southeastern city Sanliurfa bordering Syria, felt sick after cutting and eating a sick chicken on Friday, and were transferred to a nearby hospital.
"The family had eaten a sick chicken but we cannot say at the moment that they have avian influenza. We have put them in the emergency room, and they are in quarantine," said Professor Fatma Sirmatel from Harran University Hospital.
Turkey - Two More Turkish Children
Confirmed With Avian Influenza
GENEVA (Reuters) -- The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Saturday [7 Jan 2006] that it had confirmed that two children hospitalised in Turkey had contracted the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, a spokeswoman said. She said the children, a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old, were from the same region where three other children died from avian influenza this week. She declined to give any further details.
-- ProMED-mail
The number of confirmed and suspected human cases of H5N1 avian influenza virus infection is escalating. The total of confirmed cases appears to be five (all children) and at least another 32 cases are suspected. As stated previously the situation in Turkey appears to be qualitatively different from that in East Asia in terms of the number of cases reported in relation to the population at risk, the mortality in children, and the simultaneous appearance of suspected cases over a wide area. It may be that as suggested above that mortality in children is a consequence of the practise in remote localities in Turkey of rearing domestic fowl in small hen houses only accessible to children, and that this circumstance does not necessarily signify a change in virulence or transmissibility of the H5N1 avian influenza virus. - Mod.CP

Patricia A. Doyle, DVM, PhD- Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
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