Thursday, January 05, 2006

Avian influenza situation in Turkey 1

5 January 2006

The Turkey Ministry of Health has confirmed its first two cases of human infection with the H5N1 strain of avian influenza. In both cases the infected persons died.Case number one was a 14 year old boy from the rural district of Dogubayazit, in the eastern province of Agri. He was taken to the hospital on January 1, 2006 and died the same day. Case number two was his 15 year old sister, hospitalized on the same day. She died January 5, 2006.

Turkish authorities had ruled out avian influenza earlier this week in these cases based on preliminary test results from samples taken from the nose and throat. Subsequent tests of additional patient specimens taken from the lungs produced positive results.

Turkish health authorities have stated that since January 1, 2006, a total of 11 patients (including the two confirmed fatal cases) have been hospitalized in Van Province with symptoms suggesting infection with avian influenza. Most patients are children between the ages of six and fifteen years and all reside in the Dogubayazit district. Two of the children are siblings of the two confirmed cases.

Initial information about the confirmed cases suggests that the children acquired their infection following close contact with chickens. Deaths of chickens are known to have occurred in the Dogubayazit district near the end of last year. Although no poultry outbreak has been officially reported in the district, a confirmed outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in chickens and ducks was reported on December 27, 2005 in the adjacent province of Igdir.

Turkey Authorities are saying that the Dogubayazit district has been placed under quarantine; no people or animals are allowed to move in or out of the district. Culling operations are currently under way.

The two Turkish cases mark the first confirmed reports of human infection with avian influenza outside East Asia. Since January 2004, a total of 142 human cases of H5N1 infection have been reported in Viet Nam, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and China. The cases in Turkey bring the number of affected countries to six, from which 144 cases have now been reported.

Turkey reported its first outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in poultry in mid-October of last year. That outbreak, which occurred in the northwestern part of the country, was attributed to contact between domestic poultry and migratory waterfowl. The outbreak in Igdir and other suspected outbreaks in this part of the country are thought to have occurred following introduction of the virus by migratory birds. The region, which has several large lakes, is known to lie along migratory routes.

We will continue to post updates as they become available

Posted by john T. on 01/05 at 05:38 AM
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