01/07/2006, 00.00
TURKEY

EU says Turkey's bird flu is lethal H5N1 strain

The number of deaths and sick people is on the rise across Turkey.

Brussels (AsiaNews/ Agencies) – The bird flu virus which has reached Turkey is the lethal H5N1 strain: this was confirmed by the European Commission after laboratory testing in Weybridge. In a statement released today, it was noted that an EU ban on imports from Turkey of live birds and poultry products would remain.

Meanwhile the number of deaths and sick people in the country is growing. A third child, Hulya Kocyigit, 11 years, from the family which already lost two children to bird flu, died yesterday. Her brother Mehemet Ali, 14 years died last week and her sister Fatima, aged 15 years, died on 14 January. The family lives near Van, nearly on the eastern border with Iran.

A family of Sanliurfa, on the southern border with Syria was admitted to hospital and placed in isolation after they presented symptoms of bird flu. Ibrahim Sakat, his wife and two children felt ill after eating an infected chicken. Sakat is a poultry merchant.

Doctors have at least 20 people under observation across all the territory of Turkey, most of them youth suspected to have contracted the lethal virus.

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