January 7, 2006

AVIAN FLU UPDATE:

THE number of Turkish people thought to be infected with avian flu rose to more than 50 this weekend, prompting concern that the disease may be about to spread into Europe.

Yesterday a British laboratory confirmed that a Turkish brother and sister who died last week had the feared H5N1 strain of avian flu.

A third child from the same family in Dogubayazit, in eastern Turkey, has now died of avian flu and dozens more suspected cases have emerged.

“The laboratory in the UK said that they have detected H5N1 in samples of the two fatal cases,” said Maria Cheng, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organisation. They are the first fatalities outside East Asia.

Read the whole thing. There’s this, too: “Professor John Oxford, an expert on flu at Queen Mary’s medical school, London, said the most worrying aspect of the deaths in Turkey was the large number of human cases resulting from exposure to a small number of birds.”

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