Thursday, January 05, 2006

January 4 Flu Update--Turkish news reverberates

The news from Turkey is all over the news today.

To summarize:

A 15-year old girl died today. Her brother died before. Word on the ground is that they caught the disease playing with dead chickens. As the first known cases outside East Asia, this has caught the world's attention once again.

200 birds were culled following the announcement of the new cases.

The BBC has this excellent report on how Turkey is reacting to its bird flu news.

The imam who buried Mehmet Kocyigit in Dogubeyazit, eastern Turkey, wore a white protective face mask.

So did many of the mourners.

The 14-year-old boy died as Turkey's first ever human victim of bird flu. His grave was coated in a layer of lime.

The EU is closely monitoring the situation in Turkey.

WHO is also sending a team to Turkey to study the bird flu.

The New Scientist has the story on the Turkish cases.

But there is so far no indication that the virus has begun spreading readily between humans, which it must do to become pandemic. Like most of the other 142 reported human cases so far, the Turkish victims appear to have been infected directly by sick chickens.

CIDRAP also reports on the Turkey situation...

as does WHO.

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 27 December in the adjacent province of Igdir.

National authorities have informed WHO that 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.

Helen Branswell on the Turkey deaths.

A team of experts from the European Centre for Disease Control and the WHO's European office in Copenhagen will be travelling to Turkey on Friday to assist in the investigation of the cases.

Experts want quick answers to a number of troubling questions, including whether there is any indication of human-to-human spread among these cases and whether the virus has changed in any way that would make it easier for it to make the jump from animals to people.

Washington Post on the second death in Turkey.

ProMed on Turkey

Recombinomics notes that he has seen reports that 26 suspected flu cases are hospitalized in Turkey.

H5N1 has more on this, citing a CNN report that says 18 other people--many of them family members--are in the hospital.

As far as I know, nothing like this has happened in Indonesia, Thailand, China, or even Vietnam.
Same here.

Recombinomics also cites other outbreaks to say that the bird flu is "rapidly spreading western into central Turkey."

In a proactive move, US chicken producers will test their chickens to demonstrate they are bird flu free.

Saudia Arabia says it is ready to battle the bird flu.

The latest outbreak site in China is taking measures to stamp out the bird flu.

The Ukraine suspects a bird flu outbreak in the Crimea.

ProMed on Crimea.

Georgia's Health Minister went to the border with Turkey to help plan for bird flu.

CIDRAP does a 2005 review on the bird flu.

In the Philippines, tests of birds suspected of having bird flu are said to be negative.

Here's a story on what the Alabama Department of Public Health is saying about it preperation for the pandemic.

St. Thomas (ONT) is announcing it will hire a part-time a temporary, part-time Influenza pandemic response planning coordinator.

Vietnam is said to be keeping an eye on the bird flu.

Effect Measure has a very critical article on the quality of news reporting.


At 8:43 AM, Anonymous doug williams said...

Do children really play with dead chickens? Sounds like a spin to suggest their illness was caused through contact with the chickens as opposed to person to person...

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Orange said...

Doug--Thanks for reading and for commenting.

I wondered that myself. Its clearly designed to dispell fears of person to person transmission, but it seemed odd to me. Odder still once you look at the actual quote that was in the paper:

"The doctor said the youngsters most likely contracted the virus while playing with the heads of dead chickens infected with the disease, which explains why the parents were not affected. The Turkish newspaper Sabah said the children had tossed the chicken heads like balls inside their house."

Do children in Turkey throw chicken heads like balls? That's a lot of detail for something that isn't true, but it does sound bizarre. Then again, I didn't grow up in rural Turkey.

At 1:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do children in Turkey throw chicken heads like balls?

Aren't we talking about 12 to 15 year old boys here? Yeah, I could see it happening.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Orange said...

LOL. But one was a girl. Maybe they were tormenting her with the chicken heads....


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