Flu Turkey struggles with bird flu as children fall ill

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by Quigley_Sharps, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    DOGUBAYAZIT, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish officials struggled to contain an epidemic of avian influenza among flocks of poultry on Saturday, galvanized by the deaths of three children from the H5N1 virus and news that two more were infected.

    The World Health Organization said on Saturday it had confirmed that two children hospitalized in Turkey were infected with the H5N1 strain, making four confirmed human cases in Turkey, the sixth country where the bird flu strain has jumped from poultry to people.

    Two teenaged siblings in eastern Turkey died from the virus earlier this week and WHO was checking tests on their 11-year-old sister, who died and who also tested positive for bird flu.

    The virus has been spreading since October among flocks in Turkey, having moved west from Southeast Asia, but no people in Turkey had been reported infected until this week.

    Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan asked Turks not to hide poultry to escape bird flu culls but residents of eastern Turkey said efforts to control the outbreak were disorganized.

    "We apply to the officials but they don't come to take our chickens. I cannot bring them myself. I have no money," a middle-aged man said in Dogubayazit, the town where the dead children lived, near the Armenian and Iranian borders.

    A Reuters reporter saw chickens still walking on the streets and some escaping just before they were carried in large bags to be buried alive in pits.

    Erdogan said the government was taking all necessary measures and allocating funds to combat the spread of the disease, CNN Turk reported.


    "Peoples' losses will be compensated. Nobody will be allowed to suffer losses," he told reporters late on Friday.

    "We should not panic. Our people should not be making efforts to hide chickens, turkeys or geese."

    The virus spreads quickly among chickens, killing them in a day, and the best way to control it is to quickly slaughter all poultry in an affected area. But this can be difficult in countries where, as is common, people keep small backyard flocks.

    In some areas, trade in poultry continued as normal and people expressed doubts the disease even exists.

    A correspondent working for Reuters in Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey said people still slaughtered chickens on the streets in front of children.

    "We don't have bird flu in this city," said a man who bought a turkey from a street seller.

    Health experts said they were not surprised that there had been human infections, given the close contact between birds and people in the affected areas.

    Four members of a family from Sanliurfa, near the Syrian border, who became ill after eating a sick chicken, were hospitalized for observation, an official said.

    A family of seven people, including five children, from the eastern town of Ardahan were sent to hospital in Istanbul on Saturday, also on bird flu suspicions.


    Elsewhere, people said hospitals were overcrowded and doctors did not examine or treat them adequately, sending them home after brief examinations.

    A team of WHO doctors was in Turkey to help investigate the deaths but was stuck in Ankara due to fog.

    Turkish officials said the three siblings who died had been playing with the severed heads of chickens slaughtered after they became ill.

    "It is inevitable when you have kids playing with (infected) chicken parts that you are going to have transmission," Dr. Tony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a telephone interview.

    He said it was also not unexpected to see entire families affected.

    "You will have to assume that the chickens are pooping around outside the house, if not in the house," he said. "The children will be playing around that, getting it on their feet, under their fingernails, and then they will be bringing it in the house, hugging their mother and father."

    The big risk comes when the virus evolves just enough to transmit easily from one person to another. Then the greatest danger to people will be other people -- not infected birds.

    Children might infect other children at school or hospital workers would be getting infected.

    "What we have not seen is health-care providers getting infected," Fauci said.
  2. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    This is not a good situation.... living conditions are terrible and now we have another place in the world that seems to have this problem.... not just China and Indonesia.... better keep an eye on this....
    US Government is now saying to stock up and prepare for disruptions "if" there is a problem.... frankly its a good idea anyway... but everyone here knows that.... :D
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