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Turkey's strategic location makes it a natural "energy bridge" between major oil producing areas in the Middle East and Caspian Sea regions on the one hand, and consumer markets in Europe on the other. Turkey's port of Ceyhan is an important outlet both for current Iraqi oil exports as well as for potential future Caspian oil exports. Turkey's Bosporus Straits are a major shipping "choke point" between the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Finally, Turkey is a rapidly growing energy consumer in its own right.

Oil and gas transportation is a crucial and contentious issue in Central Asia. Turkey and the United States have been pressing for a "Western route" pipeline that would carry oil from Azerbaijan's port of Baku through Azerbaijan and Georgia and then across Turkey to Ceyhan, at an estimated cost of US$1.8-$4 billion. This would be a major part of the proposed "Eurasian Corridor" to bring Caspian oil and gas to international markets via Turkey, and to bypass Russia and Iran. Russia, on the other hand, is promoting a "Northern route" across the Caucasus to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. From there, oil would be transported through the Bosporus (which Turkey claims is too crowded already, and a potential danger to Istanbul) or via a proposed pipeline from Bulgaria to Greece and the rest of Europe. Other proposals include a pipeline to Georgia's Black Sea port of Supsa, and a swap arrangement with, or export pipeline through, Iran. - worldpress.org

news headlines reveal why Avian flu
is a useful political economic tool

France calls for EU minister meeting on bird flu
11 Oct 2005 09:12:12 GMT
Source: Reuters
PARIS, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The European Union's health and foreign ministers should meet soon to coordinate their reaction to the spreading bird flu virus, France's Foreign Minister Philippe Douste- ... Full Article...
UAE bans bird imports from Turkey, Romania
11 Oct 2005 08:54:09 GMT
Source: Reuters
DUBAI, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates banned on Monday all imports of live birds and feathers from Turkey and Romania due to the presence of cases of bird flu. The decision by the ... Full Article...
On alert, Bulgaria tests dead birds for flu
11 Oct 2005 07:19:12 GMT
Source: Reuters
(adds details, quotes, background) SOFIA, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Bulgarian authorities said on Tuesday they were testing three birds found dead in the northern part of the country for avian flu but ... Full Article...
Indonesia seeks Vietnam advice on fighting bird flu
11 Oct 2005 06:58:03 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Recasts with comments by health minister) JAKARTA, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Indonesia will study how Vietnam managed to contain an outbreak of bird flu in humans, Jakarta's health minister said on ... Full Article...
Australia cracks down on illegal fishing
11 Oct 2005 05:18:04 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Michelle Nichols CANBERRA, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Australia will deploy extra patrol boats and armed officials in remote northern waters to crack down on illegal fishing and strengthen border ... Full Article...
Indonesian man is latest positive bird flu case
11 Oct 2005 03:28:47 GMT
Source: Reuters
JAKARTA, Oct 11 (Reuters) - A 21-year-old man from the Indonesian island of Sumatra is being treated for bird flu, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, bringing the number of positive cases of the ... Full Article...
WRAPUP 5-EU bans Turkish bird imports after avian flu outbreak
10 Oct 2005 17:45:05 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Recasts with confirmation of EU import ban on Turkish poultry, adds EU detail and reaction in paragraphs 5-7) By Gamze Alarslan MANYAS, Turkey, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The European Commission banned ... Full Article...
Balkan states ban poultry from Turkey, Romania
10 Oct 2005 15:51:24 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Updates with import bans in Macedonia, Montenegro) By Zoran Radosavljevic ZAGREB, Oct 10 (Reuters) - All Balkan countries announced on Monday a ban on poultry imports from Turkey and Romania and ... Full Article...


EU shenanigans - bird flu psyops related???

EU to hold emergency meeting on Turkey

ISN SECURITY WATCH (Thursday, 29 September: 14.11 CET) - The EU will hold an emergency meeting on 2 October in an attempt to break the deadlock over Turkey's membership talks, EU sources said on Thursday.

The deadlock has stalled Turkey's bid to become the European bloc's first predominately Muslim, albeit largely secular member.

EU foreign ministers will seek agreement on a negotiating plan for Turkish membership talks, which are scheduled to begin on 3 October.

Some EU countries – notably Austria and some political forces in Germany – are calling on the bloc to offer Turkey a partnership deal rather than full membership. Negotiations over Turkey's accession could last up to ten years.

All 25 EU nations have to agree on a negotiating mandate before talks can begin with Ankara. If EU foreign ministers fail to reach consensus on Sunday, the planned Monday talks would be delayed. - isn.ethz.ch

Turkey for bird flu shocker

Turkish health minister urges calm over bird flu outbreak

13/10/2005 - 13:58:39 - The bird flu outbreak in western Turkey has been contained, the health minister said today, urging the public to remain calm amid panic over news that Turkish birds were infected with the virulent H5N1 virus.

"Bird flu is totally under control," Health Minister Recep Akdag said. "The outbreak in winged animals occurred in one area and has been contained." "Of course, we need to be careful; we need to do our homework well," he said, reassuring Turks that the government was ready to deal with bird flu.

The European Union announced earlier that it found the H5N1 bird flu virus in Turkish poultry - the first confirmation of H5N1 in Europe. The virus has killed 60 people in Asia since 2003. Experts have been tracking the disease in birds because they worry the strain might mutate into a human virus and spark a pandemic. Public health authorities want the poultry outbreaks wiped out as rapidly as possible to prevent those opportunities for mutations.

The village outside Balikesir in western Turkey where 1,800 turkeys died has been under a two mile quarantine for the past week. Authorities culled 7,600 domestic birds and disinfected five hectares of land in the area to contain the highly contagious virus, officials said.

Turkey asked the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding AG for one million boxes of a standard flu medicine as a precaution against a possible pandemic, a health official said.

The Anatolia news agency reported that Turkey wanted to stockpile 500,000 boxes of the anti-viral oseltamivir, known commercially as Tamiflu, and had requested that 300,000 be sent as soon as possible.

"A letter of intent … has been sent so that a fixed amount of the anti-viral drug is kept in Turkey," Anatolia quoted ministry official Turan Buzgan as saying.

But a Health Ministry official said later that the government asked Roche for one million boxes. Each box contains 10 capsules. - IOL

Vaccinations recommended after deadly bird flu found in Turkey

13/10/2005 - 12:01:02 - EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou today said he advocated "the increase of vaccination among the risk population" to deal with a potential or possible pandemic.

The European Union said the bird flu virus found in Turkish poultry was the H5N1 strain that scientists worry might mutate into a human virus and spark a pandemic.

"We have received confirmation that the virus found in Turkey is an avian flu H5N1 virus," said Kyprianou. "There is a direct relationship with viruses found in Russia, Mongolia and China."

Kyprianou said precautionary measures being assessed were to warn people travelling to countries where the disease has been diagnosed to avoid "going to farms, coming in contact with wild birds and so on."

The H5N1 bird flu strain does not easily infect humans, but 117 people, mostly poultry workers, have caught it over the past two years and 60 of them had died.

Scientists were tracking the spread of the virus in birds because it could mutate into a dangerous human pandemic strain. - IOL

Turk PM eats chicken to help avert bird flu panic

ANKARA, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Anybody for chicken salad? Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has joined a campaign to reassure his public that poultry is still safe to eat despite the outbreak of a deadly strain of bird flu on a farm in western Turkey.

Friday's newspapers showed Erdogan breaking his Ramadan fast on Thursday evening by tucking into a chicken salad and even offering some to a photographer recording the scene.

"(I hope) you will now change your headlines," the Sabah newspaper quoted Erdogan saying as other officials, including the speaker of Turkey's parliament, Bulent Arinc, also ate chicken. - alertnet.org

EU sends vet to Turkey to assess bird flu threat

BRUSSELS, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The European Union has sent a veterinary expert to Turkey to help it tackle bird flu after the disease was found to have killed two teenagers in a remote rural area, the European Commission said on Thursday. Two Turkish teenagers died from bird flu in recent days in a remote rural district near Turkey's border with Armenia, where people live in close proximity with livestock and poultry.

There was the possibility of more suspected cases of bird flu in humans in the area, the Commission said in a statement.

Although experts say more tests are needed to be certain of the virus, all evidence points to it being the H5N1 strain -- appearing to mark a major shift westwards to the edge of Europe of a disease that has killed 74 people in Asia since 2003.

Samples of the diseased poultry would now be sent to the EU's reference laboratory in Weybridge, near London, for tests to be carried out, the Commission statement said.

The Turkish authorities are also sending samples from the human cases to a separate World Health Organisation reference laboratory in Britain to confirm the identity of the virus. - alertnet.org

First Turkey, then Greece...

Greece confirms first case of bird flu in EU

By Philippe Naughton October 17, 2005 -The Agriculture Ministry said the H5 virus had been detected on a turkey on the island of Chios. It was not yet clear whether the bird was infected by the H5N1 sub-strain, which has claimed at least 60 human lives in Asia.

Chios is in the eastern Aegean, only a couple of miles at its closest point from western Turkey, where an outbreak of bird flu at a turkey farm, confirmed as H5N1, has brought a major cull. The virus has also been found in wildfowl in Romania's Danube delta.

News of the outbreak in Greece came as Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, told the Commons that the Government was taking the prospect of a bird flu pandemic - if it crosses across into humans - "very seriously" and its latest contingency plans would be published.... Times Online

British Lab tests confirm what exactly????

BUCHAREST, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Lab tests in Britain have confirmed that an outbreak of bird flu in Romania is that of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, Romania's state veterinarian authority said on Saturday.

"We have received telephone confirmation from London that it is the H5N1 virus," Alina Monea, spokeswoman at Romania's veterinary and animal health authority told Reuters. - alertnet.org

Officials announced yesterday that samples of Romanian bird flu being tested this weekend in a British laboratory did contain the deadly H5N1 virus. However further results are needed to find out whether it is similar to the particularly lethal strain which has been found in Turkey and Asia. Scientists fear that H5N1 could genetically mutate into a form which is easily passed from human to human, sparking a global pandemic. - 'Bird flu outbreak is inevitable'

Why haven't countries such as Macedonia got their own labs???

Macedonia seeks UK tests on suspect bird death

SKOPJE, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Macedonian authorities said on Tuesday that one dead chicken found among hundreds in a village north of the Greek border had raised suspicions and samples were being sent to Britain for tests for possible bird flu.

"We had one sample which was suspicious. It could be any kind of flu, not only bird flu. But to be sure we decided to send the sample to the U.K. for tests," said Sloboden Cokrevski, Macedonia's chief veterinarian official.

Greece confirmed its first case of bird flu on Monday and was conducting tests to determine if it was the deadly strain of the virus, which some scientists say is likely to mutate, causing a pandemic among humans.

The virus, called H5N1, has been found in Romania and Turkey where thousands of fowl have been culled in an effort to prevent its spread.

The suspect sample comes from a village called Mogila, near Bitola, about 130 kms (70 miles) north of the border with Greece. This is a rural area of some 500 households which keep some 10,000 chickens.

Hundreds of chickens have died recently in the area, but of 40 samples taken, all but one showed they died of what Cokrevski said was a "well-known plague" among poultry, known as Newcastle disease and endemic in many countries.

Macedonian authorities said they would monitor a 3-km zone around the site but did not seal the area off.

Macedonia is also awaiting the results of tests by local authorities on chickens that died near Kumanovo, on the country's northern border with Serbia. - alertnet.org

Economic pressure = Poultry Farmers are panicking

Stuffing, not flu, killed Albanian turkeys

TIRANA, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The death of 200 turkeys raised fears of a bird flu outbreak in southern Albania but a post-mortem exam by the country's Veterinary Institute showed the birds died of eating too much.

"Our analysis shows they died of over-eating. There is no virus," chief vet Dashamir Xhaxhiu told the Panorama newspaper as concern grew in Europe that the deadly bird flu virus was spreading.

Turkeys are traditionally fattened for the New Year's dinner table in Albania. Some farmers who think rich feed makes them tastier force-feed them with olives and nuts. - alertnet.org

High strangeness: count the swans...

"...a laboratory at Weybridge has confirmed Romania has another cluster of bird flu - this time in 12 swans that died in fish ponds near the village of Maliuc, in the Danube Delta. It has yet to confirm whether the strain is the lethal H5NI." - BBC

what could this mean?

EU - We will not hesitate ... to propose more drastic measures

EU to propose 'drastic measures' against bird flu

17/10/2005 - 07:22:59 - The European Union will not hesitate to propose "drastic measures" to fight the spread of bird flu if current safeguards prove insufficient, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said yesterday.

Bird flu has been found in Romania and Turkey, and the EU has banned all poultry imports from those countries. It also recommended that member states increase biosecurity measures on farms, and implement early detection systems in risk areas, such as wetlands.

"We should avoid alarmism, but at the same time I think we should ... use very serious precaution on this situation and monitor it constantly," Barroso told reporters during a visit to Stockholm, Sweden. "We will not hesitate ... to propose more drastic measures if at technical and expert level this is recommended," Barroso said, but did not give details.

EU experts on Friday urged poultry farmers to check on their birds more frequently and to report deaths and illnesses quickly. They did not require EU farmers to bring their flocks indoors, nor did they recommend vaccinations among flocks or bans on the hunting of wild fowl.

The Commission has called another emergency meeting of EU veterinary experts for Thursday to assess developments.

Although the H5N1 virus strain is highly contagious among birds, it is difficult for humans to contract. Still, it has killed about 60 people in Asia, mostly poultry farmers infected directly by birds.

The strain has already appeared in Turkey, and the European Union has banned all poultry imports from Turkey and Romania. The EU's top public health official, Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou, said no further measures to prevent the disease spreading from Romania and Turkey were immediately needed.

Turkish authorities said today that the outbreak in the western village of Kiziksa had been contained, while initial lab tests conducted after about 1,000 chickens died in eastern Turkey showed no signs of bird flu.

Romanian officials said all domestic birds in Ceamurlia de Jos were killed and the village was being disinfected, but the area would remain under quarantine for 21 days before it could be declared free of the virus.

"We finished (killing domestic fowl) in Ceamurlia de Jos," said Gabriel Predoi, who heads the national Agency for Animal Health. They hoped to complete the cull in Maliuc by tonight.

Both Ceamurlia de Jos and Maliuc are in the quarantined eastern province of Dobrogea. All cars, trucks and trains travelling between Dobrogea and the rest of the country are being disinfected, while authorities have increased the surveillance of domestic birds in neighbouring areas, Agriculture Minister Gheorghe Flutur said.

The two villages are under even stricter regulations, with police restricting access to them. Authorities have also banned farmers in surrounding areas from leaving birds and animals outside, for fear they could come in contact with wild migratory birds carrying the virus.

In Italy, poultry for sale as of Monday will carry labels indicating its origin, in a bid to reassure consumers worried about bird flu.

An Italian lobby for the farm industry, Confagricoltura, said the labels would indicate where the poultry had come from, as well as a number indicating the poultry farm had clearance from health authorities.

The label will also contain information about the butchering of the poultry. - IOL

Flashback to the Turkey outbreak:
BP Pipeline Turkey / Azerbaijan

Gazprom Pipeline via Turkey

...while the gas dispute is nearing completion, Moscow and Kiev find themselves engaged in another trade war - this time in meat and dairy products. Russian veterinary authorities halted import of meat and dairy products from Ukraine on Jan. 20 citing health reasons. The Ukrainian government has been seeking international support in this matter and it even turned to veterinary watchdog the International Epizootic Bureau for help. Ukraine's Foreign Minister, Boris Tarasyuk, said on Tuesday, Jan. 31, that the Russian government had refused to meet a Ukrainian delegation that had sought to resolve the crisis. "Political decisions were behind this behavior; otherwise you cannot explain it," he said. "A considerable part of the Russian political elite is in favor of retaining the domination of Ukraine in one or another form," Tarasyuk continued. "Many of them are of the opinion that Ukraine should follow Russia or should be together with Russia." - mosnews

Two Britons Detained in Azerbaijan on Suspicion of Bioterrorism

06.12.2005 MosNews - Police in Baku, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, have detained two British nationals near a water reservoir. The two are being held on suspicion of trying to poison water supplies, the Regnum news agency reported.

The two men were arrested on Dec. 3 as they were trying to pour a white powder into the water. The powder has been sent for examination.

Prelimary reports identified the suspects as Paul Williamson and Duncan Jackson, employees of British Petroleum. The Azeri police said a map of the area was found on the detainees.

A correspondent for local television network, Azad Azarbaycan TV, cited a police source as saying that the two had been detained because they had behaved in a suspicious manner near the strategic water reservoir.

The expatriates were questioned at the district police department for several hours but did not explain why they had entered the area of the water reservoir. The National Security Ministry is currently investigating the bizarre actions of the foreigners. - mosnews

Turkey reports two people have bird flu

By Gareth Jones ANKARA, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Turkey said on Wednesday two people had been diagnosed with bird flu in the east of the country, the first human cases outside Southeast Asia and China.

The news was announced by Health Minister Recep Akdag.

The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 70 people in east Asia since 2003 and forced the slaughter of millions of birds.

Turkey, which lies on the path of migratory birds that are believed to spread the virus, has suffered two outbreaks of the highly contagious disease among poultry in the past three months.

Veterinary experts across Europe have been on alert, culling birds and taking other precautionary measures since October outbreaks in Turkey and Romania.

Most of Europe imposed a ban on imports of Turkish live birds at the time, but the measure was subsequently eased.

Experts say a bird flu pandemic among humans could kill millions around the globe and cause massive economic losses.

The virus remains hard for people to catch, but there are fears it could mutate into a form easily transmitted among humans. (Editing by Ralph Gowling) - alertnet.org

Boy died of H5N1 strain of bird flu - doctor

ANKARA, Jan 4 (Reuters) - A 14-year-old Turkish boy has died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, a doctor said on Wednesday, confirming the first human death from the disease outside China and southeast Asia.

Doctors had originally said Mehmet Ali Kocyigit died of pneumonia on Sunday in Van hospital in eastern Turkey.

"He died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu," Huseyin Avni Sahin, head doctor at Van hospital, told a televised news conference. The boy's sister, Fatma, has also been diagnosed as having the disease and remains seriously ill. - alertnet.org

Dead Turk boy probably had bird flu-WHO official

GENEVA, Jan 4 (Reuters) - A senior World Health Organisation (WHO) official said on Wednesday that a 14-year-old Turkish body had probably died of the H5N1 bird flu virus.

"We are pretty confident that unfortunately it is a human case of H5N1," Guenael Rodier, special adviser on communicable diseases at the WHO's European office, told Reuters. - alertnet.org

Second Turkish child dies from bird flu-TV

ISTANBUL, Jan 5 (Reuters) - A second Turkish child from the same family has died from bird flu at a hospital in eastern Turkey where she was being treated, the CNN Turk news channel said on Thursday.

Officials announced on Wednesday that 14-year-old Turkish boy Mehmet Ali Kocyigit had died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, confirming the first human death from the disease outside China and southeast Asia. Newspapers said his dead sister, Fatma, was 15-years-old. - alertnet.org

Second Turkish child dies from bird flu

By Daren Butler ISTANBUL, Jan 5 (Reuters) - A second Turkish child from the same family died from bird flu on Thursday, officials and doctors said, in the first human cases of the disease outside China and Southeast Asia.

"We lost Fatma Kocyigit this morning," Niyazi Tanilir, governor in the eastern province of Van, said on the CNN Turk news channel. The 15-year-old girl died in hospital at around 6:30 a.m. (0430 GMT).

Her brother, 14-year-old Mehmet Ali Kocyigit, died at the weekend.

Turkish officials said on Wednesday that the cause of death was the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

A top World Health Organisation official said he could not yet confirm this but it was probably correct -- which would mark a dramatic shift westwards for the deadly disease to the threshold of Europe.

Tanilir said one further patient from the family was in a particularly critical condition.

Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag gave no specific details on the boy's death, in comments before the second fatality, but said samples had been sent to the WHO and Britain for more tests.

If the deaths are officially confirmed as being the result of H5N1, they would be the first outside eastern Asia where more than 70 people have been killed by the disease since 2003.

The virus remains hard for people to catch, but there are fears it could mutate into a form easily transmitted among humans. Experts say a pandemic among humans could kill millions around the globe and cause massive economic losses.


Ahmet Faik Oner, a doctor at the hospital in Van near the Iranian and Armenian borders, said that after the latest death seven other people were being treated with similar symptoms.

It was not known yet whether any have bird flu.

Fatma's sister, Hulya, was in a particularly bad condition, Oner told state-run Anatolian news agency.

Doctors had originally said Mehmet Ali died of pneumonia on Sunday in the Van hospital, about 800 km (500 miles) east of the capital Ankara.

In the wake of the bird flu announcement, the hospital tightened up its precautionary measures and closed its children's department to other patients.

All those receiving treatment in Van had come from the same district of Dogubayazit on the Armenian border, the health minister said. People in the remote, rural area live mainly from raising poultry and other livestock.

Turkey, on the path of migratory birds that are believed to spread the virus, has had two outbreaks of the highly contagious disease among poultry in the past three months.

Veterinary experts across Europe have been on alert, culling birds and taking other precautionary measures since October outbreaks in Turkey and Romania.

Most of Europe imposed a ban on imports of Turkish live birds at the time, but the measure was subsequently eased.

In Asia, measures against the disease have included the slaughter of millions of birds. - alertnet.org

Six more Turks in hospital with suspected bird flu

ANKARA, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Six people have been sent to hospital in a second province in eastern Turkey with suspected bird flu, NTV commercial television reported on Thursday.

The news follows the death of two teenagers, a brother and sister, in Van hospital in eastern Turkey overnight in the first human cases of bird flu outside China and Southeast Asia.

NTV said the six patients were from Igdir province on the Armenian border, just to the north of Agri province where the two dead children came from. Seven other people from Agri are also being treated in Van hospital for suspected bird flu. - alertnet.org

WHO team to help probe Turkey bird flu deaths

By Richard Waddington GENEVA, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday sent a team of experts to Turkey to help investigate the deaths of two teenagers from suspected bird flu, a senior official said.

The team, which had been requested by Ankara, included epidemiologists who would try to verify the source of the deadly virus which is believed to have killed a brother and sister in a remote rural district of Turkey near the Armenian border.

WHO officials say that there is little doubt that the deaths were due to the feared H5N1 avian virus, making them the first human cases to occur outside China and Southeast Asia.

On Thursday, a second test in Istanbul had supported the findings of an Ankara laboratory that H5N1 was responsible, said Guenael Rodier, special adviser on communicable diseases at the Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO).

While a final diagnosis would only come after samples were examined at a laboratory in Britain later this week, the Istanbul lab had used a genetic technique that was as good as a fingerprint of the virus, he added.

"I have no reason not to trust the result," he told Reuters by telephone from the WHO's European headquarters in Copenhagen.

But the WHO, which had been expecting human cases after the virus was detected amongst wild birds and poultry in Turkey and parts of south-east Europe late last year, said that this did not mean a worldwide flu pandemic had become more likely.

Scientists fear that the deadly virus, which still rarely escapes to humans from birds and poultry, could mutate and become more easily transmissable. In this case, it could trigger a global epidemic in which millions of people could die.

H5N1 has killed 74 people in China and southeast Asia since 2003, but virtually all the cases involved people, as in Turkey, who had been in close contact with infected poultry.

Turkish newspapers said officials suspected the 14-year-old boy and his 15-year-old sister were infected by chickens they kept at home.

Tracing the source of the infection would be the job of the epidemiologists, Rodier said, adding their conclusions could be expected within the next five days.

The official said that the United Nations' health agency had no reason yet to raise its global pandemic alert from the current three on a six-point scale.

For the WHO to move to level four, there would need to be evidence of human-to-human transmission, and there was none yet.

"From a distance it looks like we have no need to be concerned as it (the Turkish case) looks very like what happened in Asia, but let the investigators do their job," Rodier said. - alertnet.org

Ukraine suspects new bird flu outbreak in Crimea

KIEV, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Ukraine suspects a new outbreak of bird flu in the Crimean peninsula, a regional official was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Mykola Kolesnichenko, head of the emergency commission at the Crimean government, told the Fifth television channel, that poultry were found dead on a farm in Solnechnoe village in Crimea. He said officials suspected bird flu but would wait for laboratory tests for confirmation.

Ukraine reported its first outbreak of bird flu in a dozen villages in Crimea, a major stopover point for migratory birds, in late November. Tests from laboratories in Russia and Britain showed it was the deadly H5N1 strain.

Since then more than 62,000 birds have been destroyed in house-to-house checks in about 30 villages across the Crimean peninsula. Officials declared the bird flu outbreak over and lifted the state of emergency at the end of December.

The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu is endemic in poultry in parts of Asia where it has killed more than 70 people. Though hard for people to catch, experts fear it could mutate into a form which passes easily from person to person. - alertnet.org

Third child dies in east Turkey of bird flu

By Mustafa Yukselbaba DOGUBAYAZIT, Turkey, Jan 6 (Reuters) - A third Turkish child from the same family died of bird flu on Friday as the virus which has killed 74 people in east Asia reached the threshold of Europe.

Hulya Kocyigit, 11, was the sister of Mehmet Ali, a 14-year-old boy who died last weekend, and of Fatma, 15, a girl who died on Thursday.

The children lived in a remote rural district of eastern Turkey near the Armenian border. Their six-year-old brother is also being treated for the same disease in the hospital.

Huseyin Avni Sahin, the head doctor at Van hospital where the children died, told CNN Turk 23 people were now being treated at his hospital for suspected bird flu.

The authorities said on Thursday that the victims being treated came from more than one province in eastern Turkey. "Fifteen of them are in bed, one in a critical condition. Eight are able to move about. Most of the patients are children," he said.

The deadly H5N1 bird flu virus remains hard for people to catch but there are fears it could mutate into a form easily transmitted among humans. Experts say a pandemic among humans could kill millions and cause massive economic losses.

The disease has killed 74 people in China and Southeast Asia since 2003. Like the east Asian victims, the Turkish children who died are known to have lived in close proximity with poultry.

In the dead children's home town of Dogubayazit, near the Iranian and Armenian borders, an anxious crowd gathered outside the state agricultural offices to dump sackfuls of dead poultry or to ask for their poultry to be culled.

"After the deaths everybody is scared. We are all getting rid of our chickens and nobody dares eat their meat," said local trader Devlet Kaya.

Agriculture officials wearing face masks and protective white suits carried the sacks away to be culled and dumped in the municipal rubbish tip outside the town, where they are buried in a deep pit and covered with lime.


One official said 3,500 poultry had been culled in the district so far and this figure was expected to reach 5,000 by the time the operation was completed on Saturday. However, officials said some families were trying to conceal some of their poultry. Rauf Ulusoy, the state's representative in the town, said 14 people had been sent from the town for treatment in neighbouring Van since the outbreak first emerged at the end of December.

He said the authorities had prepared a leaflet for locals detailing the precautionary measures which they should take against the spread of bird flu and this was being distributed in the town.

Authorities have sent extra supplies of the Tamiflu medicine used against the disease to Van, which is about 800 km (500 miles) east of the capital Ankara.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has provisionally backed the diagnosis that the children died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu but has said that more tests need to be carried out.

The WHO sent a team of experts to Turkey to help investigate the deaths at Ankara's request and the European Commission said it had sent a veterinary expert to help tackle the outbreak. Samples from Turkish patients were being analysed in Britain.

The WHO, which had been expecting human cases after the virus was first detected among wild birds and poultry in Turkey and parts of southeast Europe late last year, said the latest cases did not mean a worldwide flu pandemic had become more likely. - alertnet.org

Tests confirms bird flu in two dead Turkish children

ANKARA, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Final tests have confirmed two Turkish children who died in recent days were suffering from bird flu, official said on Friday.

Three Turkish children from the same family have died this week. The three have been diagnosed with bird flu according to preliminary tests, but a second set of tests is carried out at a World Health Organisation (WHO) laboratory.

Turkey said earlier that the WHO tests had confirmed three cases of bird flu.

A Turkish health ministry official later told Reuters that one of the three victims tested as positive by the WHO was still alive and came from another family, clarifying the earlier statement.

"Two of the children whose samples tested positive are dead. The third, a girl, is still sick in hospital. She is from a different family but lives in the same area (as the three children who died)," the official said.

WHO spokeswoman Maria Cheng confirmed that was the case. Cheng said further test results from samples taken from other suspect cases in Turkey were expected next week. - alertnet.org

RPT-Bird flu found in wild ducks in west Turkey-minister

ANKARA, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Turkey's farm minister said on Friday bird flu had been detected in two wild ducks near the capital, Ankara, nearly 1,000 km (700 miles) west of infected areas where three children died of the disease in recent days.

"The disease has been identified in two wild ducks near a dam at Nallihan (about 100 km west of Ankara)," Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker told a televised news conference called to brief reporters on the situation in eastern Turkey.

The discovery suggests migratory birds may be spreading the disease across the large country, as experts had warned.

Bird flu first surfaced in Turkey last October in a corner of western Turkey near the Sea of Marmara, further west than Nallihan, but authorities declared that infected area clear of the disease last month after imposing quarantine measures. - alertnet.org

Turkey PM promotes cull after bird flu kills three

By Umit Bektas DOGUBAYAZIT, Turkey, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan urged people not to hide poultry to escape bird flu culls while residents in the east where three children died of the disease pleaded on Saturday for more help.

A team of World Health Organisation (WHO) doctors who flew to Turkey to investigate the first human bird flu fatalities on the threshold of Europe were stuck in Ankara due to fog.

The European Commission said its laboratory at Weybridge, England, had confirmed that the strain of bird flu found in Turkey is the deadly H5N1 form of the virus.

The virus killed 74 people in east Asia before it claimed the lives of the three children from the same family in eastern Turkey this week. Some of the victims had played with the severed heads of infected birds, doctors said.

Experts plan to study the outbreak for signs the virus was passing from person to person, mutating into a form easily transmitted among humans. Experts say a pandemic among humans could kill millions and cause massive economic losses.

Erdogan urged people not to hide their poultry and promised compensation. He 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 on Friday.

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


The Ministry of Environment and Forests banned hunting of all wild birds throughout Turkey and asked hunters to avoid contact with them.

Despite government efforts, residents complain that even after they ask for assistance, chickens are not being taken away for days. Some say they do not have money to pay for trucks to bring poultry to the city centre for culling.

"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.

Turkish television reported that a prosecutor in the eastern town of Kars had begun an investigation into culling poultry by burning in holes because causing pain to animals is illegal.

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

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

Elsewhere, people say hospitals are overcrowded and doctors do not examine and treat them adequately, sending them home after brief examinations.


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

A Reuters stringer in southeastern Diyarbakir said people still slaughter chickens on the streets in front of children.

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

A poultry seller complained the government pays 7-9 lira ($5.25-$6.75) compensation for a turkey, which is normally sold for 30 lira in the market, and that is why they do not want to give their poultry to officials for culling.

"These bird flu rumours are produced intentionally to raise lamb sales. There is no problem with our poultry," a street seller said.

(Additional reporting by Selcuk Gokoluk and Mustafa Yukselbaba) - alertnet.org

Two more Turkish children confirmed with bird flu

GENEVA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Saturday it had confirmed that two children hospitalised in Turkey had contracted the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

A WHO spokeswoman said the children, a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old, were from the same region where three other children died from bird flu this week. She declined to give further details. "A 5-year-old and an 8-year-old have been confirmed with the H5N1 virus, these are children that are already hospitalised," said WHO spokeswoman Maria Cheng.

The virus killed 74 people in east Asia before it claimed the lives of the three children from the same family in eastern Turkey this week.

WHO had confirmed that the two elder children of the family died from bird flu. But, Cheng said, said there was "further testing going on" on blood samples from the third case, an 11-year-old girl who had died.

A team of WHO doctors are in Turkey to investigate the deaths -- the first human bird flu fatalities on the edge of Europe -- but were stuck in the Turkish capital due to fog.

Experts plan to study the outbreak for signs the virus was passing from person to person, mutating into a form easily transmitted among humans. Experts say a pandemic among humans could kill millions and cause massive economic losses. - alertnet.org

Three people found with bird flu in Turkish capital

ANKARA, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Turkey announced on Sunday that three people had tested positive for bird flu in the Turkish capital, Ankara, marking a further westward advance of the infection towards the frontiers of Europe.

Ankara Governor Kemal Onal told the state-run Anatolia news agency that two children and one adult had been diagnosed with the infection; but it was not clear if they were suffering from the deadly H5N1 strain that has killed three people in the remote east of the country.

The agency said a five-year old boy had been admitted to hospital with suspected bird flu in Corum in central Turkey. The virus had been spreading since October among flocks in Turkey, having advanced from Southeast Asia; but no people in Turkey had been reported infected until last week.

The emergence of human cases of the flu in the Van area, near the borders of Iran and Armenia, raised fears the disease might advance to major Turkish population centres and to Europe.

It seems highly likely that the children who died in Van region caught the virus directly from chickens. But world health authorities are concerned that human exposure to the bird flu could lead to emergence of a mutation allowing easier transmission between humans and raising the prospect of a pandemic. - alertnet.org

Human bird flu cases spread west in Turkey

By Selcuk Gokoluk ANKARA, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Three Turks were reported to be infected with a deadly strain of bird flu in the capital Ankara on Sunday, a new step in the westward march of the virus from its eastern Asian origins.

The first case of the virus jumping from birds to humans in western Asia emerged in Turkey last Wednesday. Three children in the remote eastern Van region died of the highly potent H5N1 strain that has killed 74 people in east Asia.

Ankara Governor Kemal Onal told the state-run Anatolian news agency that two children, aged 5 and 2, and a 60-year-old adult had been diagnosed with the infection in the capital, about 400 km (250 miles) east of Istanbul, Turkey's densely populated largest city, and the Mediterranean area.

The agency said a 5-year-old boy had also been admitted to hospital with suspected bird flu in Corum in central Turkey.

Two children have already tested positive for the H5N1 strain in Van, about 800 km (500 miles) east of Ankara.

The two infected children in hospital in Ankara were brought from nearby Beypazari after contact with dead wild birds.

Their parents tested negative for the disease, doctors said. A separate family sent to hospital in Istanbul on Friday displaying bird flu symptoms also tested negative.

It seems highly likely the children who died in Van region also caught the virus directly from chickens. But world health authorities worry that human exposure to the bird flu could lead to the emergence of a mutation allowing easier transmission between humans -- and raising the prospect of a global pandemic.

A team of World Health Organisation doctors is in Turkey to help investigate the deaths and look for any signs of transmission between humans. But harsh wintry weather in the Van region is hampering their movements, the WHO said.

Moscow raised the prospect of economic damage to Turkey's vital tourist industry, warning Russians against travelling to Turkey after the human infections.


Iran, which borders the Turkish region worst affected by the outbreak, closed one of its border crossings, forcing many Turks travelling there for this week's major Muslim holiday marking the Feast of the Sacrifice to return home, Anatolian said.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has appealed to Turks to help in a mass cull aimed at stemming the advance of the virus and promised adequate compensation to farmers and families who rely on poultry for their living.

But in the Dogubayazit district hit by the virus, local people have accused the authorities of being slow to act.

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

The father of the three dead children in eastern Turkey, Zeki Kocyigit, 38, told Reuters they had not known bird flu was still a threat after authorities said they had successfully suppressed an outbreak among poultry in the west of the country.

"Nobody warned us... We thought the bird flu had passed," he said, adding that it was the custom in rural Turkey for families to kill and eat sick birds.

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

Poverty also greatly hampers the fight against the disease.

"I did not have the two lira ($1.5) to get Mehmet Ali (their eldest boy) to hospital," his mother Marifet sobbed.

After finally reaching a hospital, the parents watched their eldest son, the first human victim of the disease outside China and southeast Asia, fade fast.

"He died looking at me. He gave me a final kiss just before his death," the father said at their tiny one-room cottage.

"I am the kind of man who says his prayers. Their death was the will of God."

(Additional reporting by Umit Bektas and Baris Atayman in Dogubayazit) - alertnet.org

Poverty and death plague Turkish bird flu family

Sun Jan 8, 2006 5:05 PM GMT By Umit Bektas and Baris Atayman

DOGUBAYAZIT, Turkey (Reuters) - Mehmet Ali helped support his family in this impoverished, bleak corner of eastern Turkey by making candyfloss and selling it to schoolmates. Now the 14-year-old boy is dead, along with his sisters Fatma, 15, and Hulya, 11, the first human victims of bird flu outside China and southeast Asia, and their grieving parents wonder how they can now make ends meet.

"When Mehmet Ali first fell sick, we did not even have the two lira ($1.30) to take him to hospital," his mother, Marifet, sobbed in her native Kurdish. Many women in this mainly ethnic Kurdish region speak little or no Turkish. She thought initially the boy had caught cold because he lacked suitable shoes and clothes for the severe wintry weather. After finally scraping together a few coins to get Mehmet Ali to hospital, doctors gave him syrup and sent him home again, not suspecting he had contracted the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu which has killed 74 people in east Asia since 2003. His condition worsened, and his siblings also fell sick.

The parents began to suspect that the sick chickens the children had killed and eaten might be to blame. Doctors say the children had also played with the heads of the dead poultry.

"It is our custom here to kill and eat sick birds... Nobody warned us (about the risks)," Zeki Kocyigit, the 38-year-old unemployed father, told Reuters in the small concrete mountain shack that is their home.

The house has no running water and they rely on a spring. A partitioned section of the backyard serves as a toilet.

Their eight chickens had lived in a small coop next to the house, in the Turkish tradition. Some experts speculate that the reason children account for many of those testing positive for the virus now in Turkey is because children traditionally tend the poultry and can squeeze into the coops, unlike the adults.

"We heard that bird flu problem had struck in Manyas (in western Turkey) but that it was over," said Kocyigit.

Authorities declared Turkey free of bird flu in December, two months after reporting the country's first outbreak in Manyas, more than 1,000 km (600 miles) west of Dogubayazit. They culled thousands of poultry, but no humans fell sick.


Mehmet Ali died on New Year's Day. Fatma died on January 5, Hulya on January 6. Only their six-year-old brother, Ali Hasan, has survived.

"He died looking at me. He gave me a final kiss just before his death," Mehmet Ali's father said.

His wife Marifet said she especially mourns her eldest daughter Fatma. "I am left alone. She was my everything. She was my friend, she helped with all the housework," she said.

Although health workers have been culling poultry in the town of Dogubayazit since Mehmet Ali died a week ago, chickens can still be seen near the Kocyigit family home. Some local people are hiding their poultry, even though the government has promised full compensation for those culled. Other birds have simply escaped capture.

The locals stare in amazement at the veterinary experts and journalists from distant Ankara and Istanbul dressed in special white overalls, boots, gloves and face masks as a precaution. Zeki said he hoped the government would help find him a job so that he can provide properly for their surviving child. In his grief, he also sounded a stoical note.

"I am the kind of man who says his prayers. Their death was the will of God," he said. - reuters.co.uk

Bird flu confirmed in Turkey

Last Modified: 8 Jan 2006 Source: ITN

Three cases of the lethal strain of bird flu have been confirmed in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Scientists say this is a new stage in the westward sweep of the disease from its east Asian origins towards major economic centres in Turkey and Europe.

The first case of the virus jumping from birds to humans outside China and southeast Asia occurred last week in rural eastern Turkey, where three children from the same family died after contracting the highly potent H5N1 strain.

As doctors confirmed that two children and a 60-year-old man were being treated in Ankara for the virus, Russia raised fears of the disease impacting Turkey's economy by warning its citizens against visiting the popular holiday destination.

Doctors said the infected children, aged 5 and 2, came from Beypazari west of Ankara and had caught the virus after contact with dead wild birds. Their parents tested negative.

Ankara is about 250 miles east of Istanbul, Turkey's densely populated commercial and tourism hub, and from the continent of Europe.

Officials said the culling of birds had begun in the Ankara districts hit by bird flu. - channel4.com

Turkey says five new human bird flu cases have deadly strain

Mon Jan 9, 7:08 AM ET ANKARA (AFP) - Five more people have tested positive for the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu in Turkey, raising to 14 the number of people confirmed as infected with the disease.

A senior ministry official told AFP on the condition of anonymity that the tests at Turkish laboratories had identified the five as carriers of the H5N1 strain, which is potentially deadly to humans.

Two children have already died of the disease in eastern Turkey. Four of the new confirmed infections, all children or teenagers, come from the northern provinces of Samsun, Kastamonu and Corum. The fifth comes from the eastern province of Van, Turan Buzgan, the head of the ministry's basic health services department, told Anatolia news agency. The two cases from Kastamonu -- two siblings, aged four and five, currently hospitalized in Ankara -- have not yet shown any sign of illness, Buzgan told Anatolia. A five-year-old from Corum, initially treated for pneumonia, was brought to the same hospital in Ankara and is now improving. A 12-year-old, who had been in close contact with sick poultry, is currently undergoing treatment in Samsun, Buzgan said. The fifth patient, aged 18, was hospitalized in Van, where two children in the same family died from the H5N1 virus last week. A third child from the same family also died but the cause of her death is yet to be established. news.yahoo.com

Human-to-human spread not seen in Turkish bird flu: WHO

9th Jan 2006 - DOGUBAYAZIT, Turkey (Reuters) - There are no signs that the bird flu virus spreading in Turkey is being passed among humans, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

The WHO has confirmed four human bird flu cases in Turkey, including the deaths of two siblings last week from Dogubayazit in the poor eastern part of the country.

"At the moment there is no element in this village indicating human-to-human transmission. It's typically similar to what we have seen so far (in Asia)," Guenael Rodier, heading the WHO's mission to Turkey and a specialist on communicable diseases, told Reuters Television.

The WHO team is visiting eastern Turkey to investigate the situation and to advise on measures to combat the disease.

Turkey has reported a spike in suspected bird flu cases among people across the country, fanning fears the deadly disease is sweeping westward toward mainland Europe.

Health Minister Recep Akdag said 14 people had so far tested positive for the virus, including the three dead children. "The more humans are infected, the more chance the virus has to adapt itself to humans, that's why we need to minimize the human cases, and the best way to do that is to control the disease in animals," Rodier said.

He said villagers and children had been infected after close contact with chickens carrying the deadly virus, similar to how the H5N1 virus has jumped from birds to humans in Asia since late 2003. news.yahoo.com

Hard-up villagers hide birds as Turkey begins mass cull

From Suna Erdem in Istanbul

Attempts to halt the spread of the avian virus are being met with ignorance and hostility

CHICKENS splash in the mud among the rain-soaked shanties of the Kucukcekmece district of Istanbul. They face death in municipal gas chambers - if anyone can catch them.

A team of 20 men in special suits moves purposefully among the buildings, collecting domestic fowl to be culled, but many remain at large as night falls. Not all the owners are co-operative - one man tore off the head of his pigeon rather than hand it over, while another chased his hens away as the culling team approached.

"If they want my birds they can pay for them," mutters a burly man, part of the large crowd watching the operation, reluctant to surrender his livelihood so easily. "Do you want your children dead then?" a young woman reprimands him.

The cull is part of measures to rid Turkey's largest city of the bird flu virus which has been recorded as spreading rapidly across the country since three children in eastern Turkey died of the disease last week, becoming the first human victims of the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus outside East Asia.

Several children are among the 12 people being treated for confirmed avian flu across the country. There are another 78 suspected cases. The virus's appearance in Istanbul brings it to the easternmost point of the European landmass.

There are no human cases so far here, but the capital Ankara was hit at the weekend: a pensioner who kept chickens and two young boys are in hospital. The boys have proved positive for the virus, even though they show no symptoms. They appear to have contracted it after playing with gloves used by their father and uncle to handle two infected dead wild ducks. Dozens more are under observation in hospitals - from the eastern city of Van, where the children died, to northwestern Istanbul. Several hundred panicky people have been to hospital "just in case".

There was some good news for the Kocyigit family from eastern Dogubeyazit province, who lost three children to bird flu: their six-year-old son, Ali Hasan, has been declared free of the virus.

So far more than 100,000 birds have been killed in 11 eastern provinces, but yesterday it was the turn of Istanbul, where around a sixth of the population lives. Muammer Guler, the governor, has declared a quarantine zone and mass culls in three districts, including Kucukcekmece, while a further six districts around water reservoirs are under observation. "We urge you not to touch domestic fowl in the areas marked out for culling. Shut up their coops and wait for the culling teams to arrive," Mr Guler said.

Although health officials are nervously watching for any signs that the virus has mutated into a form that can pass from human to human, so far all cases in Turkey involve direct contact with infected birds.

The way to stop the spread, they say, is seemingly simple but almost impossible to implement: to put an end to the haphazard method of rearing birds in backyards, streets, even in homes, which can be seen mainly in rural Turkey but also in shanty suburbs such as Kucukcekmece. The belief is that such free-ranging birds can easily come into contact with the migrant birds thought to have brought the disease to Turkey.

"Since our country is on the migration route we may well come across this issue in the years to come. Therefore we must consign the idea of 'village hens' and 'village eggs' to history," Recep Akdag, the Health Minister, said.

Advice is plentiful. The Agriculture Ministry has prepared a public information film giving warning of the dangers of keeping and slaughtering one's own birds. Newspapers are overflowing with advice urging people to avoid all contact with birds, to buy pre-packaged poultry products only and to look out for symptoms of the flu.

The press has been full, too, of shocked articles about people from impoverished areas still handling chickens and turkeys. The coverage has scared some into drastic action, including families who shoved their live chickens into bags and threw them into the street and those who hurled dead poultry into a stream.

Birds are widely feared. In the town of Sakarya, residents were stranded outside when a small duck got into the stairway of their flats. The residents refused to enter until a municipal official removed the bird. One district after another is banning the sale of unpackaged bird meat and eggs, but local markets are slow to put this into practice. Those buying and rearing their birds in this way are invariably poor.

The Kocyigit family from Dogubeyazit said they killed their sick chickens and ate them because they could not afford anything else.

The cull has sparked defiance in some, reluctant to destroy their source of food and income, and distrustful of official pledges of compensation.

So many birds have been hidden from culling teams that creative measures have to be taken. Two men were fined in Igdir province, while in Dogubeyazit a local governor has resorted to bribing children to reveal where their parents have concealed poultry. The mayor visited weddings to urge guests in Turkish and Kurdish to co-operate with the culling teams for the sake of their children.

In Zonguldak, a northern province on the Black Sea, a district agriculture official berated villagers who had failed to shut up their hens. "You had better all drop dead then!" he yelled in his frustration. "You drop dead," the men yelled back.

A man from Van told one newspaper that he would rather hand over his wives than his chickens. - times online

U.N. Officials Join Turks To Investigate Bird Flu Deaths

Further human cases are expected; USAID works on preparedness

By Charlene Porter Washington File Staff Writer

Three children are dead in rural eastern Turkey, setting off alarms about the appearance of human cases of bird flu on Europe's doorstep.

The three deaths struck the same family in the rural community of Dogubayazit, with three siblings dying in less than a week. A fourth child in the family has survived a bout of the illness. A total of 14 human cases of disease caused by the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus known as H5N1 have been confirmed in Turkey, according to a January 9 update from the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Van province, where the young siblings died, 38 more people are being treated for what could be H5N1. Turkish and international officials are working together to achieve confirmation. Outbreaks in poultry are occurring in several parts of the country at the same time, and the WHO statement says suspected human cases of H5N1 infection are expected to increase.

Turkey is the sixth nation to discover human cases of H5N1, the first outside East Asia, where this dangerous pathogen first started killing poultry two years ago. The number of human cases has crept upward steadily over the last few months, at 146 as of January 7, with 76 deaths, according to WHO.

The WHO statement said there is no evidence so far that the virus has become contagious among humans. The latest victims – the dead and the ailing – almost all have what WHO describes as "a documented link to dead or diseased poultry."

As human cases of bird flu have mounted over the past year, international health officials have warned that this flu strain may have the potential to spread across the globe to become an influenza pandemic comparable to that which killed tens of millions in 1918-1919.

As first news of the human cases emerged from Turkey, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt reiterated the U.S. commitment to work with the international community to combat disease.

"We will continue our vigorous efforts in concert with the WHO Secretariat, its regional offices and other international partners," Leavitt said in a January 5 HHS statement, "to track the global spread of the H5N1 influenza virus and to detect human cases as early as possible."

The WHO statement on Turkey is available on the WHO Web site.


The discovery of human bird flu cases in a nation thousands of kilometers from where the disease originated highlights the virus's ability to spread.

Though still apparently not contagious among humans, the virus finds many means of travel – in flocks of migratory wild birds, in shipments of infected birds in agriculture trade or in the mud and dust that travel on a truck from an infected farm. Just as the virus has spread, so has awareness among world governments of the need to prepare for the possibility of pandemic and improve their ability to understand and control diseases that may pass from animal to human populations.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is engaged with many governments to support and enable these activities. USAID worked in December 2005 to provide training for 5,000 veterinarians and volunteers in Vietnam, a nation with 93 human cases of H5N1, the highest number of any single nation by far. These groups are learning to recognize the connections between animal and human health and the need to remain alert for signs of disease moving among species. That is the key advice that international health authorities have issued on how to detect, contain and prevent disease spread to avert a pandemic.

In January, USAID will support community-based activities that offer village demonstrations on methods for preventing and containing disease in 16 at-risk provinces in Vietnam and Cambodia, according to a December 19 summary of its activities. (See summary on USAID Web site.)

Experts say that avian influenza has hit Asian nations so widely because traditional methods of raising and selling poultry provide significant opportunities for the disease to pass among animals and people.

The potential of avian influenza to arrive in Africa is another grave concern because infrastructure for both animal and human health care is below international standards there. Systems for disease detection and surveillance among animals or humans are weak, giving diseases a chance to spread rapidly through people, their livestock or both. USAID is supporting a program to improve surveillance in Ethiopia, one of the countries that is considered at greatest risk because of populations of migratory birds that fly in from the north.

The U.S. agency is providing assistance to the ministries of agriculture and health in their work to develop better laboratory and communications capacity.

In Tanzania, health officials are taking what the USAID document describes as "aggressive measures to stop potential bird flu cases." The Tanzanian government is enforcing a ban on poultry and poultry products from affected countries. A program to examine migratory birds for signs of H5N1 also is under way with USAID support.

Additional information is available on the USAID Web site.


In the United States, HHS Secretary Leavitt is spreading the preparedness message far and wide as he works through a schedule of meetings with state and local officials in all 50 U.S. states.

At a meeting in Arizona January 6, Leavitt released a new citizens' guidebook, Pandemic Influenza Planning: A Guide for Individuals and Families, a tool to help Americans understand the threat of pandemic influenza and specific actions they can take to protect themselves and their families. - usinfo.state.gov

other symptoms include: A police state

Black Sea, Mideast states step up bird flu checks

By Michael Winfrey SOFIA, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Police rummaged through luggage and sprayed cars with disinfectant at border crossings from Turkey and Romania on Tuesday as neighbouring countries tried to stem the spread of deadly bird flu.

Flanked by Turkey and Romania on the Black Sea, Bulgaria said it had put veterinarian and border officials on high alert.

"We are preparing as if for a war," Simeon Yotovski, director of the regional veterinary office of Rousse on Bulgaria's Danube border with Romania. "Inspectors are hand checking the luggage of everyone entering Bulgaria. All cars are being sprayed with disinfectant and any poultry products are being confiscated and burnt."

The virus has killed three people in eastern Turkey and has infected another dozen. To the north in Romania, it has swept through domestic poultry flocks in dozens of villages around the Danube river delta although no human cases have emerged.

Officials in Greece and Georgia, which also border Turkey, said they were taking similar measures. Ukraine, which has reported outbreaks among poultry in the Crimea region, said it had stepped up monitoring at its Black Sea ports.

Most of the countries lie on the Pontic migratory route, by which wild birds travel south from Scandinavia and Siberia to northern Africa for the winter.

Scientists say wild birds have carried the virus to the Black Sea region from east Asia. H5N1 has killed at least 76 people since 2003 and experts now fear it could possibly spread to people in mainland Europe.


Despite the spread of human infections in Turkey, Bulgaria said the greatest risk came from birds still moving south from the Danube delta, Europe's largest wetlands.

The victims of bird flu contract the disease from close contact with infected poultry. There are fears it could mutate into a form which passes easily from person to person, unleashing a pandemic.

"For now, our expectation is that if bird flu appears, it would be caused by the flight of migratory birds coming from the north around the Black Sea," Agriculture Minister Nihat Kabil told reporters.

Following reports of unwillingness to report outbreaks in poultry in other countries, Bulgaria said it would pay farmers twice the market value of their domestic birds in the event they had to be culled.

Romania's agriculture ministry said it had intensified surveillance on birds and domestic animals around affected areas and was monitoring people entering and leaving the country.

Many countries bordering Turkey urged people to keep away from birds and wash their hands to prevent infection. Officials in Armenia and Britain asked travellers to avoid areas in the country where outbreaks had occurred.

"I don't think it would be advisable to travel to the eastern parts of Turkey or to enter parts of known infection," Professor Colin Blakemore, the chief of Britain's Medical Research Council, told the BBC.

Iran has imposed tight controls on its border with Turkey, banning one-day trips to Turkey from its Bazargan border area. It has also joined the rest of Turkey's neighbours in banning its poultry imports, raising concern among the public.

"I have stopped buying poultry since the disease spread to Turkey," Maryam Salehzadeh, an Iranian mother of two, told Reuters. "I don't care about myself but I don't want my children to die." (Additional reporting from Reuters' Moscow, Tehran, Athens, and other bureaus) - alertnet.org

bird round-up continues in Turkey

Turks battle to weaken grip of deadly bird flu

11-1-2006 - By Paul de Bendern ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey stepped up efforts on Wednesday to halt an outbreak of deadly bird flu as a U.N. body warned that the virus risked becoming firmly established there and posed a serious threat to neighboring countries.

The virus has been found in birds in a third of Turkish provinces, killed at least two children and infected more than a dozen people.

The Turkish victims are the first human cases reported outside east Asia since H5N1 avian influenza reemerged in 2003. Two more people in China are now known to have died from bird flu last month, bringing the death toll there to five.

Indonesian authorities said a 29-year-old woman in Jakarta had been diagnosed as suffering from the virus after contact with dead chickens.

"There is a necessity for a global answer to this crisis," World Health Organization (WHO) European Regional Director Marc Danzon said in Ankara.

Scientists fear H5N1, which is known to have killed 78 people, could mutate into a form that can spread easily between humans, leading to a pandemic. European authorities are stepping up precautions and Turkish health officials will travel to Luxembourg to meet European Commission officials on Thursday.

WHO doctors said on Wednesday there was no sign of human-to-human transmission in the Turkish outbreak. They also said there was no reason for people not to visit Turkey. However, experts from another U.N. body, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the virus risked becoming a constant problem in Turkey as it is in poultry in parts of Asia.

"The highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 could become endemic in Turkey," the FAO said in a statement.

Juan Lubroth, senior FAO animal health officer, said the virus may be spreading despite the measures taken to combat it and urged neighboring countries to be on high alert. The world animal healthy body OIE said Ankara should consider poultry vaccination in addition to culling birds.


Two teenagers died last week from bird flu in eastern Turkey. Their dead sister is also a suspected victim.

The virus has rapidly infected birds in some 30 out of 81 provinces, including Turkey's key tourism region near the Aegean coast, Ankara and Istanbul. Authorities have stepped up the culling of poultry, with over 300,000 birds killed. The WHO said that human victims have contracted the disease from close contact with infected poultry, in most cases children play with birds or helping families kill them for food or sale.

Dr. Guenael Rodier, head of the WHO mission to Turkey, said the case of two Turkish boys who tested positive for bird flu without developing symptoms provided a chance to learn more about the virus.

[My note: if you're not showing symptoms why would you be tested? are they randomly testing people for the virus?]

"The normal flu virus is always at its most virulent at the start of the process, but you don't necessarily exhibit the symptoms at that stage," he said, suggesting a possible similarity between avian influenza and the normal flu virus. "If so, we have diagnosed the H5N1 virus at the very early stages (in the boys). We hope to study this case carefully. This is an opportunity to learn about the disease."

The two children contracted the virus after playing with two dead birds they found near their home in the central Turkish town of Beypazari, west of the capital Ankara.

[My note: did they?]


Authorities believe many poor families in the east brought their sick birds into houses when winter hit, increasing the chances of humans catching the deadly virus. More than 70 people are suspected of having bird flu and are being tested, although a majority of them are not thought to have H5N1. None of the positive cases are life-threatening.

[My note: did they bring the birds indoors because of Bird flu scaremongering?]

In eastern city of Van, where some 40 people are being treated for suspected bird flu, locals complained that officials had failed to take away chickens running freely in the roads where children play.

"I'm worried for our children. I have been calling people for three days asking them to take the chickens away," Cengiz Isik, a 34-year-old waiter, told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Daren Butler in Van, Ankara, Istanbul, Rome, Beijing, Paris and Jakarta bureaux) - news.yahoo.com

$30 million to improve Turkish surveillance

Turkey may need $30 mln in bird flu aid

By Lesley Wroughton

WASHINGTON, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Turkey could qualify for $30 million in aid from the World Bank after a joint assessment of its needs to deal with the bird flu virus, a bank official said on Wednesday.

"A joint assessment has come up with a $30 million requirement to fill the needs to improve surveillance, veterinary services and put in place a basic human health component to deal with the outbreak," Juergen Voegele, World Bank sector manager for rural development in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, told Reuters in an interview.

He said Turkey had the capacity to deal with the current outbreak of the deadly virus, but it will require significant spending.

Turkey is among a dozen countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia where World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) teams have been evaluating the needs of governments to deal with the virus. At least six countries in the region have already been affected by the virus including Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Romania, Azerbaijan and Croatia.

The virus has killed at least two children and infected more than a dozen people in Turkey in little more than a week, the first human cases reported outside east Asia.

The World Bank has proposed a $500 million credit line to help countries deal with the bird flu and a separate multi-donor fund that could be finalized at a summit in Beijing next week. Voegele said since the outbreak in Turkey, neighboring countries have taken the issue more seriously.

"Some countries have low capacity, especially in veterinary services and the communications area. We feel that they should really invest now to do the right thing to beef up surveillance and communications," he added. He said governments may have to reallocate resources to deal with the possibility of a bird flu outbreak and the international community should also be willing to step in. "It is in the interest of everyone around the world that even the weakest and poorest country put the right mechanisms in place so that this thing doesn't spread," Voegele said. - alertnet.org

Starving Iraq via fear ?

excerpt from USA Today report:

Meanwhile, health officials in northern Iraq, which shares a border with Turkey, have started taking measures to prevent possible cases of bird flu from entering the country. Preliminary tests have shown that at least 15 people in Turkey have been infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of the flu. Two children have died. Doctors, veterinarians and other health ministry officials met Sunday in northern Iraq's Kurdish enclave to discuss bird flu, the region's minister of agriculture said Wednesday.

"A campaign will start on the borders of Turkey and Iran to prevent the importation of any kind of bird," Shamal Abid Waffal said. "No living birds are allowed to be sold in the markets. Even the frozen birds are not allowed to be taken from one city to another without medical tests."

There have been no reported cases of bird flu in Iraq. - usatoday.com

pourous borders?

Porous borders add to Iraq bird flu fears

By Mariam Karouny BAGHDAD, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Iraq said on Thursday it was on high alert to prevent the spread of avian flu from neighbouring Turkey, but officials conceded that poor border controls would make it difficult to enforce a ban on importing birds.

Iraq has been trying to secure porous borders with its neighbours, particularly Syria, since 2003 to stop the flow of foreign insurgents but with little success. Tribes living along border areas also make a living from smuggling goods.

Despite these difficulties, the head of a committee set up by Iraq's health and agriculture ministries to tackle bird flu is confident that the country can avoid being touched by the H5N1 virus that has spread from Asia to Europe's doorstep.

But, it needs help -- both money and expertise.

"We are taking the situation seriously, but we need many things. We need funds and also we need more communication with international health groups, in person not via letters," Abdul Jali Hassan told Reuters.

"We have been on high alert since October, and now even more so after bird flu was discovered in Turkey," he said. "We have issued orders to border officials to check (the poultry imports), but it is a bit difficult knowing the conditions."

He said Iraq had also banned imports of poultry from Turkey, "but in a country like Iraq many people import on their own, it is not organised".

Iraqi authorities say they also have no complete records of slaughterhouses in Iraq, making their job of monitoring any outbreak even more difficult.

"But we are working on locating them and counting them, then we will monitor their work," Hassan said.

Seven government ministries would hold meetings within two days to decide whether further steps needed to be taken, he added.

The H5N1 bird flu virus has been found in wild birds and poultry across large parts of Turkey, particularly in poor villages stretching from Istanbul at the gates of Europe to Van near the Iranian and Iraqi borders.

Turkey says the virus has infected 18 people, including three children from the east of the country who died last week.

Migrating wild birds, often seen as a carrier of the virus, are due to start arriving soon at Lake Ducan in Kurdistan in northern Iraq. - alertnet

Genetic shift?

Genetic Change in Bird Flu Sample Detected

By EMMA ROSS, AP LONDON -13 Jan 2006 - Analysis of samples of the H5N1 bird flu virus from two of its victims in Turkey has detected a change in one gene in one of two samples tested, but it is too early to tell whether the mutation is important, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

The mutation, which allows the virus to bind to a human cell more easily than to a bird cell, is a shift in the direction of the virus being able to infect people more easily than it does now. However, that does not mean the mutation has taken root.

"We assume this could be one small step in the virus' attempt to adapt to humans," said WHO virologist Mike Perdue. "But it's only seen in one isolate and it's difficult to make sweeping conclusions. We just have to wait and see what the rest of the viruses (from Turkey) look like."

Turkey has seen an unusually high number of cases in a short period of time. Experts are investigating why. Health authorities there raised the number of people infected with H5N1 from 15 to 18 on Thursday, after the virus turned up in preliminary tests on two people hospitalized in southeastern Turkey and in a lung of an 11-year-old girl who died last week in the same region. All the victims are thought to have close contact with infected poultry. Samples from several of those cases are being sent to a laboratory in Britain for analysis.

Perdue said the U.N. health agency is not alarmed by the finding in a single virus sample because this exact genetic change has been seen before, in samples from southern China in 2003, and it had no impact on the course of the disease, the behavior of the virus or the pattern of human infections.

"If we saw it in more than 50 percent of samples, it would suggest the virus is really trying to adapt to humans and it would be problematic," he said. Even if the mutation is confirmed in more samples, that does not necessarily mean it is an important enough change on its own to make the virus easily transmissible between humans, Perdue said.

The 1918 flu pandemic, the biggest in recorded history, became a global killer only after the virus slowly made a series of genetic mutations. Influenza viruses are notoriously volatile, and experts expect to see mutations frequently. Many mutations are meaningless, or happen in only a minority of the virus samples, but specialists are watching the H5N1 virus carefully to pick up any important changes as early as possible.

Although nothing can be done to stop the mutations, tracking them is considered the best way to anticipate the next human flu pandemic. - news.yahoo.com

Journalist ?

Man in Belgian hospital being tested for bird flu

14th Jan 2006 BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium is testing a man, probably a journalist, for deadly bird flu after he felt ill when he returned from the Turkish province worst hit by the disease, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

The man was undergoing tests to determine whether he had contracted H5N1 avian flu, ministry spokesman Karim Ibourki said, adding results were expected later in the day. There was confusion over the man's identity, with some officials saying he may be a journalist who had worked in Turkey covering the bird flu story and others saying he was a holidaymaker.

"It probably is a journalist who had gone to Turkey to cover the spread of the virus," Ibourki said, adding the man had done some work in the eastern province of Van.

Meanwhile, Inge Jooris, spokeswoman for the committee in charge of monitoring for any trace of bird flu arriving in the country, was also unable to confirm his identity, saying it could be someone who had been a tourist in the province.

The Brussels hospital where he was being treated declined comment. The man checked himself into the hospital on Friday after returning from Turkey on Thursday, Ibourki said. Ibourki said the man was not a Belgian citizen but was unable to provide more details.

Three children have died from bird flu and 15 others have been infected since the outbreak began in Turkey two weeks ago. Hundreds of thousands of wild birds and poultry have been culled and producers have seen demand plummet. Rich donors have pledged to increase cash for fighting the flu and a team of U.S. experts have flown to Turkey to help fight the outbreak. - news.yahoo.com

Bird flu patients released

Bird flu battle steps up, Turkey patients discharged 14 Jan 2006 14:18:26 GMT

By Paul de Bendern ANKARA, Jan 14 (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed on Saturday that three people who caught the deadly bird flu virus have been discharged from hospital in Turkey as the government steps up efforts to fight the outbreak.

Belgium's Health Ministry said it was testing a man for the H5N1 strain after he fell ill on returning from the Turkish province worst hit by the disease.

Turkey's government met on Saturday to discuss measures to help the country's $3 billion poultry industry, which is at risk of collapse after a sudden bird flu outbreak swept across large parts of the country, worrying neighbours.

The Agriculture Ministry announced that more than 590,000 wild birds and poultry had been culled, with efforts ongoing. Farmers are being offered around 5 lira ($3) per chicken, 15 ($9) lira per goose and duck and 20 lira ($12) per turkey as compensation.

The WHO, in Turkey to help authorities fight the outbreak, said three H5N1 infected people -- aged eight to 17 -- had been discharged from hospital. "We have a total of 18 human bird flu cases -- three dead, and three discharged. This is good news," said WHO spokeswoman Cristiana Salvi. "We still don't know if more confirmed cases will come because bird flu is still among the poultry population and humans, particularly children, are still at risk from contact with sick birds."

Rich donors promised to step up contributions for fighting bird flu, with the European Union pledging $100 million. The United States will send a team of experts to help Turkey fight the growing outbreak.

Roche AG , maker of Tamiflu, the best known drug defence against flu, said it would donate more antiviral pills to Asia, the epicentre of the health threat. Turkish doctors expressed hope that early use of the drug was helping save some of the young victims of the virus. "What we have observed is that when cases are brought to hospital early and given Tamiflu, the treatment has proved to be effective, but it is too soon be certain," Salvi said.

The World Bank said the cost globally of preparing for and responding to outbreaks of bird flu will be between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion, with needed for animal and human health alike, as well as the building of drug stockpiles to treat victims.

The virus still mostly affects birds but has infected about 150 people and killed at least 78.

The human victims of the disease had all been in East Asia until the recent outbreak in Turkey brought the virus to the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Three infected children died last week in eastern Turkey. The WHO said a four-year-old girl who died on Friday in the eastern province Van had pneumonia, not bird flu.

"Twelve (people) are still in hospital, but none of them are in severe condition," Salvi said.


European Commission spokesman Mikolaj Dowgielewicz said the EU's executive body was closely monitoring the Belgian case. If the tests were positive, it would be the first confirmed human case in the EU since the bird flu re-emerged in late 2003.

Iran started culling thousands of birds along its border with Turkey to try to stop the disease from spreading.

France said it was extending its poultry confinement measures to 58 departments from an original 26 as fears grow over the virus, believed to be carried by migratory birds.

Romania, just across the Black Sea from Turkey, boosted disinfection measures on major roads and introduced luggage checks at airports, train stations and sea ports.

The H5N1 virus has been found in poultry in 26 Romanian villages since October but there have been no human cases of the disease.

The United States said it was sending a team of animal and human health experts to Turkey to assess the avian flu situation there. They will join experts already on hand from the WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

The WHO said it was planning studies with Turkish authorities to better understand the epidemiology of the disease, including the vulnerability to infection of health care workers and cullers through blood tests. (Additional reporting by Gilles Castonguay in Brussels) (alertnet.org

Iran bird flu cull

Iran destroys 1,000 birds in bird flu clampdown

14/01/2006 - Iran has ordered the destruction of about 1,000 birds in the northeast of the country and banned imports of fowl in an attempt to keep the country free of avian flu which is raging through neighbouring Turkey, the health minister announced today.

Kamaran Bagheri Lankarani told state television the import ban was a temporary "preventive" measure.

"Authorities slaughtered about 1,000 birds and banned trade of birds as preventive measures in Western Azerbaijan province because of outbreak of bird flu in Turkey," Lankarani said.

The minister said the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu had not been detected in Iran.

Lankarani said Iran was on high alert since the outbreak began in Turkey, with which it shares a long border. Both countries are on the north-south migratory route of wild birds, which are believed to be spreading the disease.

"We are on alert and have stockpiled enough vaccines to fight against the disease," Lankarani said.

So far, 18 people in Turkey, including three children who died last week, have tested positive for the H5N1 virus. Turkish authorities have said that all the cases appeared to have involved people who touched infected birds.

No human-to-human transmission of the disease has been found. World health officials fear such a mutation in the virus could lead to a global flu pandemic. IOL

another death in Turkey

Turkish girl dies from suspected bird flu

By Enis Durak VAN, Turkey, Jan 15 (Reuters) - A Turkish girl died on Sunday from suspected bird flu, while her brother was critically ill in hospital after testing positive for the virus. Although the Health Ministry said initial tests on 12-year-old Fatma Ozcan proved negative, doctors still suspect she contracted the deadly disease. If both siblings are confirmed to have bird flu, it would bring the number of human cases in Turkey to 20.

The ministry said tests on her brother Muhammet, 5, showed he has the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, which has already killed three other children in Dogubayazit, the same town in eastern Van province that the Ozcan family come from.

The H5N1 virus has been found in wild birds and poultry across large parts of Turkey, particularly in poor villages stretching from Istanbul at the gates of Europe to Van near the Iranian and Iraqi borders. Several tests are required to establish whether a patient has H5N1. One of the children who died last week initially tested negative.

"The girl who was under treatment in Van, Fatma Ozcan, died today of lung failure. She couldn't be saved," the Health Ministry said in a statement. "The first laboratory tests ... came out negative for bird flu but tests continue." It added: "Her brother who was in the same hospital ... came out positive today."

Separately, Van university hospital doctor Huseyin Avni Sahin told reporters: "Fatma Ozcan died today from suspected avian influenza, she came from Dogubayazit five days ago." Sahin said Fatma was initially taken to a hospital in Dogubayazit after developing a fever and a cough after preparing a chicken with her family. She was later taken to Van.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it believes human victims have contracted the disease from close contact with infected poultry, in most cases children playing with birds or helping families kill them for food or sale. Scientists fear H5N1 could mutate into a form that can spread easily between humans, leading to a pandemic. European authorities have stepped up precautions.

Syria destroyed birds at a market near its northeastern border with Turkey on Sunday to try to head off any spread of bird flu. "The city is taking precautions against the spread of bird flu," Kibrael Kourou, an official in the border city of Kamishli, told Syrian state news agency SANA.


The Turkish victims are the first human cases reported outside east Asia since H5N1 reemerged in 2003. The virus mostly affects birds but has infected about 150 people and killed at least 78. Most of the dozen or so bird flu patients in Turkey are not in critical condition but are still receiving treatment, with three people released from hospital last week, the WHO said. Two children, 11 and 13, with bird flu-like symptoms have been hospitalised in Istanbul after coming into contact with chickens in Gebze town, state news agency Anatolian said on Sunday. The children were being treated in hospital, but it was not immediately clear whether they had been tested for bird flu.

So far, bird flu has been confirmed only in poultry in Istanbul, a city of 12 million people on the edge of Europe.

Bird flu has swept across a third of the country since the start of the year. The authorities have culled 600,000 wild birds and poultry to try to contain the crisis. Health officials are going from house to house, particularly in the east of Turkey, searching for birds to cull. Areas where the virus has been detected have been sealed off and people and vehicles leaving have been disinfected.

WHO doctors said there was no sign of human-to-human transmission in the Turkish outbreak but tests were ongoing. However, experts from another U.N. body, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), have said the virus risked becoming a constant problem in Turkey as it is in poultry in parts of Asia.

Turkey's government has set up a committee to come up with measures to help the $3 billion crisis-hit poultry industry.

(Additional reporting by Daren Butler in Istanbul and Rasha Elass in Damascus) - alertnet.org

Syria bird flu cull

Syria culls birds near Turk border to prevent flu

DAMASCUS, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Syria culled birds at a market near the Turkish border on Sunday to prevent the spread of bird flu across their border, though the birds showed no sign of illness, a health official said.

"Any poultry on sale in an unregulated market and any pigeons or game are now culled," said George Khoury, head of the animal health department at the Agriculture Ministry. "No country is safe from the risk of bird flu today, especially not Syria because it neighbours Turkey."

The birds were being traded at an unregulated market where live birds are sold every Sunday in the northeastern town of Kameshli on the Turkish border, he said. "The city is taking precautions against the spread of bird flu," Kibrael Kourou, a city official, told the state news agency SANA.

Health officials also shut down the town's regular bird market and inspected poultry shops for hygiene, SANA said.

A Turkish girl who died on Sunday in eastern Van province is suspected to be the fourth child killed by avian influenza since the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus was found in many parts of Turkey.

Syria shares a 490 km (300 mile) border with Turkey. Scientists have said the virus could be spread by infected birds migrating south for winter. More than 18,000 birds have been tested in Syria and no human cases of bird flu have been reported, Khoury said. - alertnet.org

Germany Media scare...
German far right [now in control]
have something against Turkey...? really?
this outbreak is proving very useful

Suspected bird flu case in Germany-newspaper

BERLIN, Jan 15 (Reuters) - A patient was admitted to a German hospital with suspected bird flu symptoms, a German newspaper said on Sunday.

In an extract from an article in Monday's edition of the paper, the Koelner Stadt Anzeiger quoted a senior doctor at the St Franziskus hospital in Cologne as saying the patient had been admitted with suspected symptoms of the disease.

It quoted unnamed medical sources as saying the man had recently entered Germany from Turkey. - alertnet.org

764,000 chicken killed ...how many over the last 3 yrs?
Where is all that Meat stacked in the supermarket coming from?

Turkey culls 764,000 fowl in fight against bird flu 16/01/2006 - Turkey has slaughtered 764,000 fowl nationwide in its fight to contain the bird flu outbreak, the government's bird flu crisis centre said today.

Nineteen people have tested positive in preliminary Turkish screenings for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, and three of them have died. Authorities were trying to determine whether a 12-year-old girl who died yesterday was the outbreak's latest victim.

Turkey has been destroying fowl in areas where the disease was confirmed or suspected in birds in an attempt to limit contact between fowl and people.

Officials have said all the people with confirmed H5N1 infection appear to have contracted the virus by touching or playing with birds. There was no evidence of person-to-person infection.

Five-year-old Muhammet Ozcan, admitted to hospital in the eastern city of Van with a fever and a light lung infection, tested positive for the virulent H5N1 virus yesterday, increasing the number of infected people in Turkey to 19, Turkish authorities said. The World Health Organisation has not yet confirmed that case.

His 12-year-old sister Fatma - who initially was believed to have died of the disease - tested negative in initial tests. Authorities were carrying further tests to determine whether she also was infected. If confirmed, her death would be the fourth fatality in Turkey.

At least 77 others in east and south Asia have died since the virus first surfaced there in 2003, the WHO says.

Authorities quickly buried Fatma yesterday evening, wrapping her in a special body bag to contain any virus, following a quick prayer at a snow-covered cemetery under torch light. The girl was from the town of Dogubayazit - the same town where three siblings died of bird flu about 10 days ago.

At least two of the H5N1 patients have been discharged from hospitals after recovering from the virus, and the WHO was examining the cases closely as it tracks how the virus may be changing. Health experts are concerned that the virus could mutate into a form that would spread easily among humans, triggering a pandemic capable of killing millions.

Turkish authorities on Monday continued destroying tens of thousands of birds nationwide as a precaution. At least 764,000 domestic birds have been killed, the crisis centre said, and bird flu in birds is now confirmed or suspected in 29 of Turkey's 81 provinces.

Authorities were also trying to save some of the fowl. Yesterday, people living in remote villages in central Turkey began to disinfect their chicken coops after the Agriculture Ministry distributed special kits.

"We are disinfecting the poultry houses in the village to prevent the spread of the deadly bird flu virus with the equipment we received from the Agriculture Ministry, and we hope it works," said Adil Ova, chief official in the village of Ishan. - IOL

What is going on here?

19th Jan 2006 WHO- Girl In Iraq Did Not Die Of Bird Flu

The World Health Organization says the teen did not have the bird flu.

- Geneva, Switzerland -- The World Health Organization says the bird flu virus is not being blamed for the recent death of a 15-year-old girl in Iraq. The agency says its Eastern Mediterranean office has "dismissed" the theory that the virus caused the girl's death. The girl died earlier this week near Iraq's border with Turkey, which is the site of a recent bird flu outbreak.

Iraqi health authorities agree that preliminary results of tests taken at the girl's home also suggest she did not die from avian flu. However, officials there say it's too early to offer a definitive conclusion.

The investigation into the girl's death follows concerns that the virus could spread from Turkey to neighboring countries. - wfmy.com

January 31, 2006 - Teen Girl Who Died May Have Had Bird Flu

From Times Wire Reports

A 14-year-old girl who died in northern Iraq this month had bird flu, Iraq's health minister said. A World Health Organization official said preliminary results from a U.S. military laboratory in Cairo showed the H5N1 bird flu virus, but it was seeking further tests.

If confirmed, it would be the first known human case of the virus in Iraq, whose northern provinces border Turkey, where more than 20 people have been diagnosed with the virus. - latimes.com/

January 31, 2006 - IRAQ: First bird flu case confirmed

- The Ministry of Health has announced that a 15-year-old girl who died on 17 January in the northern town of Raniya, close to Sulaimaniyah, was a victim of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, despite earlier reports to the contrary.

"We are sorry to inform the Iraqis and the world that the case of bird flu in northern Kurdistan has been confirmed as being the first case in Iraq," said Abdel Mohammed, Iraqi minister of health on 30 January. "We alert the population to be aware of migratory birds."

The announcement was made after a sample was tested at a US Naval Medical Research Unit laboratory in Egypt. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is awaiting its own tests to be confirmed in the United Kingdom. - alertnet.org

January 31, 2006 - WHO Puzzled with Young Turkish Bird Flu Victims

By Cihan News Agency Published: Tuesday, zaman.com

The World Health Organization on Monday expressed puzzlement at the young age of bird flu victims in Turkey during the recent outbreak of the virus in the country.

The WHO's laboratory in Britain has so far confirmed 12 of the 21 H5N1 bird flu cases reported by the Turkish Health Ministry.

The figure includes the deaths of four children from the town of Dogubayazit in the eastern Turkish province of Agri which borders Iran. - zaman.com

Bird flu permanently alters Turkey

Saturday, January 14, 2006 By BENJAMIN HARVEY ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER ARALIK, Turkey -- No more tractors idling as ducks waddle across a dirt road. No more turkeys gobbling in open fields. No more fetching fresh eggs from the backyard coop. No more roosters crowing at dawn.

In Turkey, the outbreak of bird flu is changing the rural scenery and threatening a way of life. Yet up to now, there has been no significant discussion of what Turkey's countryside might look like when the bird flu crisis passes, or how its impoverished people will get by without the domestic birds on which many of them rely.

In the midst of the worst bird flu epidemic outside of southeast Asia, top government officials have warned Turkey is at permanent risk of outbreaks because it is on the path of several species of migratory birds.

At least 18 people in Turkey have been confirmed to be infected with the deadly H5N1 strain, including three siblings who died last week. Because of the risk, Health Minister Recep Akdag has insisted raising birds in backyards must "history," and the sooner Turks learn that, the better.

Yet the state has not come up with a long-term plan to compensate people for what could be a painful upheaval, other than to pay a basic market rate of $3.70 for delivering a chicken or a duck to authorities, $11 for a goose and $15 for a turkey. No rules have been drawn up for the post-crisis period, and it was unclear if people would be banned from raising poultry altogether or be allowed to keep birds in enclosed spaces like coops to keep poultry from mingling with wild fowl - a costly prospect for poor families.

In parts of the east, where raising birds in backyards is a way of life for nearly every family and a means of surviving for some, many scared residents have vowed off poultry, but don't seemed to have grasped the implications.

"We won't eat them, and we won't raise them," said Ahmet Inanc, 35, in the Seslitas village outside of Dogubayazit, where bird flu has claimed the lives of the three siblings. "If we don't raise chickens and don't die, it will be better for us."

Many believed Turkey would look after them.

"The state will take care of us," said Kahraman Duman, 56, who on Friday gave up seven geese, eight chickens and a turkey to men in white protective suits who would bag, bury and disinfect them. "It's OK if it's forever."

But one official rounding up poultry in Seslitas on Friday seemed to doubt the government would come through.

"They fed their kids with their eggs. They don't have other money. They'll be ruined," the official from the Dogubayazit Agriculture Ministry said as he jumped a stone fence to go from one house to the next. He would not give his name because Turkish officials are rarely allowed to speak to the media.

Domestic birds have been eliminated from the landscape in towns and villages where the virus has been found, like Aralik near the Armenian border, believed to be the starting point of the last series of outbreaks. They soon will disappear from other towns across the country. Officials said Friday the virus has been confirmed in 13 of Turkey's 81 provinces and is suspected in 18 more.

Butcher Ishak Isik, 58, stood in his "Meat and Chicken Gallery" in Aralik and stated proudly: "There are no chickens here." Although the outbreak started in Aralik, Isik said precautions were taken quickly and the town had no human illnesses and few bird deaths.

On Aralik's back streets, chicken coops were empty, and aside from wild fowl on power lines and a pile of feathers here and there, there was no sign of bird life. "It's hard, we need to eat. We used the eggs, we used the meat," said Melek Guzelkaya, 52, who said she gave up 30 chickens. "We're waiting from an answer from the state." "Almost everyone had them," said Okan Duman, who was riding a bicycle home and said he'd given up seven or eight chickens. "I don't know what I'll do. Maybe cattle." - seattlepi.nwsource.com

Question - If infected birds are culled and the meat is OK to eat...why is it being reported that some meat is being burned in pits? why are farmers not being issued with compensation? Are men in white coats simply stealing Chickens and selling the meat to the large food processing corporations?

Iraq tests dead girl for bird flu

Iraq has ordered tests to confirm what may be the country's first case of bird flu, following the death of a girl in the northern city of Sulaymaniyah.

The teenage girl from a town near the border with Turkey and Iran died at a hospital in the city, 15 days after falling ill, officials said. Tests are being carried out in Jordan to see whether the girl died from the lethal H5N1 strain of the virus.

An outbreak of bird flu has killed four people in Turkey, which borders Iraq. Since 2003, the virus has killed around 80 people and thousands of poultry in south-east Asia and China. All human deaths so far are believed to have been caused by contact with infected animals.

While experts warn that a mutant form of the virus that transmits between humans could lead to a pandemic, so far there is no evidence of this taking place.

Family 'well'

The girl suspected of having the disease was from the town of Raniya, in a border region of Kurdish northern Iraq, Kurdish regional health minister Mohammed Khashnow told Reuters news agency. She died shortly after arriving at a hospital in the main city of Suleymaniyah. Mr Khasnow told the agency the rest of the girl's family are in good health and do not work in the poulty business. It is not yet clear when the results of the tests for bird flu will be known. BBC

countries are 'harbouring' the deadly virus?

Iraqi villagers burn chickens in Raniya village

1/19/2006 - Iraqi villagers burn chickens in Raniya village near Sulaimanyia, north of Baghdad January 19, 2006.

Iraqi experts went from village to village in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq on Thursday, searching for signs of the bird flu virus among people and poultry after the death of a teenager from a fever caused alarm.

Iraq was testing for the human strain of the deadly bird flu virus for the first time on Wednesday after a 14-year-old girl died of a fever in the Kurdish region close to the Turkish and Iranian borders.

Health officials said Tijan Abdel-Qader, who died on Tuesday after a two-week illness, lived close to a lake that is a haven for migratory birds flying south from Turkey, where 21 people have been confirmed this month as having the H5N1 virus.

- kurdmedia.com

countries are 'harbouring' the deadly virus?

'Bird flu secrecy' angers Turkey

Turkey says its battle against bird flu is being hampered by the refusal of neighbouring countries to admit they are harbouring the deadly virus. The agriculture minister urged local authorities to be extremely vigilant of "closed regimes". The UN said there was no evidence of such outbreaks.

Bird flu has hit 26 of Turkey's provinces, some near its borders with Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The virus, confirmed as the deadly H5N1 strain, has killed four Turkish people.

'No evidence'

Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker told governors of Turkey's 81 provinces that he had obtained the information about undeclared outbreaks "through unofficial channels".

But the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said there was no proof of an H5N1 outbreak in countries neighbouring Turkey.

Syria's Agriculture Minister Adel Safar rejected the accusation and said that the country's ban on poultry imports and tightening of border controls was a precautionary measure. "Syria is free from bird flu, despite allusions from Turkey that neighbouring countries are hiding that there have been some infections," he said.

A team investigating bird flu in Turkey will visit neighbouring regions next week "to get a sense of whether they are on top of it or not", according to an FAO spokesman.

Representatives from the World Health Organization and World Organization for Animal Health will visit Egypt and Iran, Syria and Caucasus countries.

A mass cull of poultry is under way in almost one third of Turkey's provinces to try to stop the virus spreading any further.

A national awareness campaign has also been launched to warn people of the danger. Story from BBC NEWS: BBC

Now it's Frances turn to xeno-scaremonger

France tests woman for bird flu

A French woman who recently returned from Turkey is being tested in a Montpellier hospital for possible bird flu, the health ministry has announced. A first test was negative, but the results of further examinations are due later on Sunday, the ministry said. The woman had spent two weeks in Turkey, but in a region not known to have been affected, a spokesman said.

Bird flu has hit 26 Turkish provinces. At least four people have died from the deadly H5N1 strain of the disease.

Last week a Belgian cameraman who had returned from eastern Turkey with flu-like symptoms tested negative for the virus. The H5N1 strain of the virus has killed about 80 people - mostly in Asia - since late 2003.

Isolation ward

The 32-year-old French woman went to hospital on Saturday following a stay in the Tarsus region of Turkey, where she had been travelling alone.

Her case was being treated as potential bird flu because of the "symptoms and because the woman saw dead birds while travelling in a country affected by the epidemic," the ministry said in a statement.

She showed flu symptoms and breathing difficulties, and has been tested for signs of the H5N1 strain in her nose and throat. The woman has been placed in an isolation ward, where she is receiving antiviral treatment, the ministry added.

Victims contract the virus through close contact with sick birds, but experts fear the virus could mutate into a form that passes easily between humans, possibly sparking a pandemic. - BBC

Algeria steps up measures against bird flu

ALGIERS, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Algeria will spend eight billion dinars ($111 million) to protect itself from any outbreak of bird flu in the North African country, state radio said on Sunday.

Health Minister Amar Tou was quoted as saying the money would be used to import more than seven million doses of anti-viral drugs. He stressed that no case of the disease had been so far reported in the country.

Tou also said the government had ordered seven million masks for health staff in case of any epidemic.

The authorities have said they plan increased health checks at airports and ports to ensure passengers and goods from places hit by the virus do not bring it into the country of 33 million.

Turkey has reported at least four deaths from the H5N1 strain of bird flu this month, bringing the strain to the gates of Europe and the Middle East.

The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed at least 80 people since late 2003. Victims contract the virus through close contact with sick birds, but there are fears it could mutate into a form that can pass easily from person to person, sparking a pandemic.

Huge numbers of birds migrate to Africa every year in search of warmer climates. Birds from Russia fly via eastern Europe and congregate in areas like the Rift Valley in East Africa.

$=72.55 Algerian dinars

- alertnet.org

Turkey culls 1.28 million fowl to prevent bird flu spread

24 - 1 - 2006 - Turkey has culled 1.28 million fowl in a bid to prevent bird flu spread in the country, Turkish National Coordination Center for Bird Flu said on Monday.

A statement issued by the center said that the bird flu was detected in 16 provinces including Ankara and Istanbul.

Twenty-one people have been infected with bird flu in Turkey, including four teenagers who have died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu this year. Experts fear that the disease, which currently jumps from birds to humans, might mutate into a form that can easily transmit among humans, which would lead to a global pandemic. - english.people.com.cn

Iraq culls hundreds of thousands of birds

31/01/2006 - Health authorities went on high alert today following Iraq's first reported case of the deadly bird flu virus, culling hundreds of thousands of birds and warning farmers across the country to inspect their flocks.

Five mobile hospitals with special equipment were due to arrive in northern Iraq later today, according to Health Minister Abdel Mutalib Mohammed. A 20-mile security cordon will be placed around the village where the disease appeared, he added.

The measures followed yesterday's announcement that a 15-year-old girl from northern Iraq who died on January 17 had contracted the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. It was the first confirmed human case of H5N1 in the country. The prospect of a bird flu outbreak in Iraq is alarming because it is gripped by armed insurgency and lacks the resources of other governments in the region. Government institutions, however, are most effective in the Kurdish-run area where the girl lived.

The US has offered assistance to Iraqi authorities to help deal with the outbreak, while a World Health Organisation team of epidemiologists and clinicians was expected to arrive later in the week to start tests. "We are working with the government of Iraq and the World Health Organisation to ensure that the necessary support for diagnosis and treatment of avian influenza is available as needed," US Embassy spokeswoman Sylvia Blackwood said.

WHO spokesman Dick Thompson said health authorities are also investigating two more possible bird flue cases - the girl's uncle who died on January 27 and a 54-year-old woman from the same region who has been taken to hospital.

Iraqi authorities believe the girl most likely contracted the disease from migratory birds that passed it onto domestic birds in her hometown of Raniya, US Embassy health attache Jon Bowersox said.

Raniya is just north of a reservoir that is a stopover for migratory birds from bordering Turkey heading south through Iraq's southern marshlands, onto Kuwait and further to South Africa, said Bowersox. At least 21 cases of bird flu have been recorded in Turkey, raising fears the virus may have moved south. - IOL

Raniya is about 60 miles south of the Turkish border and 15 miles west of Iran. Azerbijan close , too...hmmm

Iraqis 'confirm' bird flu death

An Iraqi Kurdish teenage girl has died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, the Iraqi health minister has said.

Abdel Mutalib Mohammed Ali said the diagnosis had been confirmed, despite initial reports from a WHO laboratory saying test results were negative.

However the AFP news agency quotes him as saying that further "testing showed indications of bird flu or even H5N1".

A spokesman for the WHO in Geneva said further tests would be carried out at a laboratory in the UK to make sure. Iraqi officials are investigating the death of the girl's uncle who had also been suffering from flu-like symptoms. Four people have been killed in neighbouring Turkey by the H5N1 strain of the virus. The Iraqi minister has gone to the northern city of Sulaimaniya to meet health officials to discuss efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

"The teenager Shanjin Abdel Qader, from the region of Raniya, who died on 17 January, succumbed to H5N1 virus," Mr Mohammed Ali told told Iraqi television. "We took her samples to the international laboratory and initial test results were negative, but later more thorough testing showed indications of bird flu or even H5N1," he went on to say. "We are calling on Iraqis not to panic or listen to rumours, but at the same to inform us if they suspect anything."

But he warned Iraqis "not to approach domestic birds and poultry as this is the main way of spreading the disease". - BBC

this is Geo-political Resource-rape warning -

Bird flu makes its way around Europe

16:51 13 February 2006 - Five more countries have found the H5N1 bird flu virus in birds in the last three days. Its spread remains consistent with the movements of wild birds, although certain wild species are also becoming major victims of the virus, which is leaving a trail of dead swans across Eurasia.

On Friday, Azerbaijan reported that H5N1 had been confirmed in dead wild birds, including swans, from the Caspian Sea coast. The coast is a major wintering spot for migrants, including some duck species that summer in Siberia, where there were H5N1 outbreaks in summer 2005, and winter from the Caspian and Black Seas through Turkey and the Mediterranean down to northern Nigeria. The virus has appeared now in all those areas.

Large numbers of dead wild birds were reported along the Caspian coasts of Azerbaijan and neighbouring Iran in autumn. Iran announced in October that their dead ducks tested negative for avian flu. But die-offs continued in Azerbaijan until February, according to press reports, and under foreign pressure Azeri officials finally sent samples to the flu reference lab in Weybridge, UK, says Juan Lubroth, head of animal diseases at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.

Chinese origin

Then on Saturday, Greece confirmed that it had found H5N1 in three dead swans on Thermaikos Gulf near the northern city of Thessaloniki. Greece is also expected to announce Monday that it found H5N1 on the Aegean Island of Skiros in a dead red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis) which conservation organisation Bird Life International describes as "globally endangered".

Also on Saturday, Italy confirmed H5N1 in dead swans from the southern provinces of Puglia, Sicily and Calabria, where birds wintering near Venice had flown to escape a cold snap. Bulgaria confirmed H5N1 in dead swans from the Danube delta.

"From what I have seen of the genetic sequence, the Italian virus is identical to the one from Qinghai," a strain first found in wild birds at Qinghai Lake in northwest China in spring 2004, says Lubroth. This strain has since appeared across Siberia, and in Mongolia, Turkey, Romania, Ukraine and Nigeria.

Megacity risk

Meanwhile, Slovenia has found an H5 flu strain in a dead swan near the Austrian border. It is expected to be confirmed as H5N1. Bird deaths in Armenia are also under suspicion.

"In Greece and Italy it is very clear wildlife introduced the virus," says Lubroth. Without better understanding of which species carry it, and where, it is hard to be certain in other cases, he says. "We asked for money for this research two years ago." Now the FAO hopes to radio-track birds and test water from bird habitats for the virus.

Meanwhile, H5N1 continues to spread in Nigeria, with reports of outbreaks in poultry now from eight states, possibly including the megacity of Lagos. People in Nigeria who had flu symptoms and were near dead birds are being tested, while in Greece several people who contacted dead wild birds are being tested. - new scientist


Germany Says Tests Show H5N1 Bird Flu

13th feb 2006 - BERLIN - Preliminary tests have shown the presence of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in two dead swans in Germany, a government official said Tuesday.

The swans were found on the island of Ruegen, and regional agriculture ministry spokeswoman Iris Uellendahl said a preliminary test showed it was the virulent H5N1 strain. Samples from the birds were being take to an European Union laboratory in Britain for a definitive test, Uellendahl said. Poultry within about two miles of the site where the swans were found will be tested, she said.

On Saturday, H5N1 was confirmed in birds in Italy and Greece _ the first time the highly infectious strain had been detected in the EU. It also has occurred in birds in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The virus has killed at least 91 people in Asia and Turkey since 2003, according to the World Health Organization. Almost all the human deaths have been linked to contact with infected poultry, but experts fear H5N1 could mutate into a form that spreads easily among people, possibly starting a human flu pandemic. - chron.com


Swiss order poultry indoors over bird flu fears

BERNE, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Switzerland on Wednesday ordered all poultry to be kept indoors from February 20 for an indefinite period after bird flu was detected in fowl in neighbouring countries.

"The ban starts on February 20 and will be in force until further notice," the government said in a statement. "The poultry must remain indoors under a solid roof where no wild fowl or droppings can enter," it added.

The measure had been widely expected after cases were detected in birds in recent days in Germany, Italy, Greece and Austria. [nL15148550]

Returning migratory birds are suspected of being the carriers of the deadly virus, and Switzerland also lies on their route back from Africa and other southern areas.

The Swiss took similar measures in October, following outbreaks amongst poultry in Russia, as birds began to head south for the winter. alertnet.org


First suspected bird flu cases in Austria

Feb 14, 2006, Vienna - Austria reported its first suspected cases of bird flu on Tuesday with the discovery of two possibly infected dead swans in the country's south-east.

An announcement by the office of Agriculture Councillor of Austria's Styria province, Hans Seitlinger, said that examinations of a number of dead birds had come up with two cases of suspected H5N1 virus. The probability was 70 per cent. Further tests were still needed, said Seitlinger's office.

The announcement said that following a suspected weekend case of bird flu in neighbouring Slovenia, the Styrian population had been particularly vigilant in reporting finds of dead birds.

In the past few days 21 - six swans, six ducks, three herons, three comorants, a pheasant and two pigeons - had been sent for analysis to the national veterinary institution at Moedling south of Vienna.

At the weekend, Slovenia reported its first case of bird flu when an apparently infected dead swan was found near the Austrian border.

A European Commission spokesman said the virus belonged to the H5 group. There would be an exact diagnosis by the E.U. Reference Laboratory in Weybridge in Britain, where samples had been sent for further testing.

According to the Austrian Health Ministry, first tests had revealed that the virus was H5N1 which is potentially fatal for humans. monstersandcritics.com

Avian flu closer to the Nordic Region

Strain H5N1 of the avian flu bug moved closer to the Nordic Region on Tuesday, when the disease was diagnosed in birds in both North Germany and Austria.

The strain was also identified in Romania. The dangerous H5N1 strain, which an be transmitted to people, has now been found in seven European countries.

Sweden and Norway both introduced bans on keeping poultry outdoors on Tuesday after the announcement that H5N1 had been identified on the German island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea. All over Sweden, all chickens, turkeys and other tame poultry must now be kept indoors. In Norway, the ban covers Oslo Fjord and the southerly Rogaland in the first instance. In Denmark, the Veterinary and Food Administration has requested that poultry be kept indoors.

A Finnish member of the Nordic Council, Lauri Oinonen, has submitted a member's proposal calling on the Nordic governments to propose new measures to stop the spread of avian flu. The Nordic health ministers discussed setting up a joint Nordic facility for the production of influenza vaccine at their meeting on 16 December. - norden.org

Europe locks up its chickens as bird flu spreads

By David Evans PARIS, Feb 15 (Reuters) - European governments ordered farmers to lock up their chickens on Wednesday after the deadly bird flu virus was found in two new countries on the continent, dealing another blow to battered poultry sales.

Germany and Austria are the latest EU countries to report the discovery of dead swans infected with the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, that has spread from Asia to Africa and killed 91 people and led to the destruction of millions of birds.

The World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) says the cases themselves do not necessarily mean the disease, which is highly contagious among poultry, has spread to domestic flocks, and this is where governments should now concentrate their efforts.

"Little can be done about the migratory patterns of wild birds, therefore we emphasise the importance of minimising the opportunity for domestic birds to come into contact with wild birds," a spokeswoman for the OIE said.

German Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer said authorities would now focus on preventing any transmission to livestock. He brought forward a ban on keeping poultry out of doors to Feb. 17 from March 1. Seehofer said the ban would take immediate effect on Wednesday in the rural northern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where the infected swans were found.

In Austria, the Health Ministry said it had created a restricted zone within a 3-km (2-mile) radius of where the dead swans were found, in the Styria region bordering Slovenia. All poultry trade has been banned in the area for at least 30 days. Monitoring for signs of bird flu will be carried out within a further 10-km (6-mile) radius, and poultry bought and sold only with ministry permits.

In the entire area, farmers will have to confine their poultry stock to barns. Poultry markets and shows, and hunting for wild fowl, have been banned, the ministry said.


The latest European cases follow the discovery at the weekend of the virus in Italy and Greece, putting governments as far north as Stockholm and Oslo on alert.

Sweden has ordered farmers to keep chickens and turkeys indoors, reinstating restrictions that were issued in the autumn and Norway has imposed a similar ban and stepped up its checks.

The Netherlands, home to Europe's most densely-populated poultry flock, may also bring its ban forward soon.

In France, the national food safety agency warned the government on Tuesday of an increased risk from migratory fowl.

The farm ministry is expected on Wednesday to extend its ban on keeping poultry outside to the whole of France.

The Slovenian Veterinary Administration has ordered the confinement of all poultry in the country and authorities have told people to stay away from wild birds.

And the Swiss government on Wednesday ordered a nationwide poultry lock-up from February 20.

In Italy, police impounded more than 80,000 chickens and 7,000 eggs from farms in the south of the country as part of a major crackdown on health norms.


The new cases have had a dramatic effect on Europe's 20-billion-euro ($23.82 billion) poultry sector. Sales in Italy have plunged more than 50 percent since the weekend, the farm union Coldiretti said, while others have estimated losses to the sector of one billion euros.

In France, sales are down by 15 percent after recovering around Christmas, although they have held up in the UK, where 90 percent of poultry reared for meat is kept inside anyway.

There are fears that in Germany, where turnover is around two billion euros, consumers may start to shun chicken too.

"Poultry sales are currently 10 to 15 percent below normal levels but we attribute this more to reports about several meat hygiene scandals not to bird flu," said Thomas Janning, a spokesman for the German poultry industry association ZDG. "Naturally we are concerned that consumers will react to the reports of bird flu in the two wild swans."

In neighbouring Poland, poultry producers said they were getting increasingly worried.

"The probability of bird flu knocking on our door is rising. If it happens, our exports will be hit," said Leszek Kawski of the country's poultry association. - alertnet.org

Azeri deaths to take bird flu toll past 100

Tue Mar 14, 2006 By Rufat Abbasov and Lada Yevgrashina - BAKU (Reuters) - Avian flu was thought to have claimed another three lives in Azerbaijan, taking the death toll from the virus beyond 100, while secretive Myanmar on Tuesday tackled its first outbreak in birds.

The Azeri victims, who died earlier this month, fell ill after contact with sick birds and were not thought to have infected each other, local health officials said.

Azerbaijan, which lies on a crossroads between Asia and Europe, reported its first bird flu deaths overnight, citing results from tests at a mobile laboratory borrowed from a U.S. Naval facility in Cairo.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it believed the tests were reliable, adding it awaited results from a British laboratory before confirming the H5N1 virus was to blame. While it remains mostly a disease of poultry, bird flu can occasionally infect humans and has previously killed at least 98 people in seven countries in Asia and the Middle East.

Scientists fear it is only a matter of time before the H5N1 virus mutates into a form that passes easily among people, triggering a pandemic which could kill millions and cripple the global economy.

Local officials said they believed the Azeri victims contracted the virus from sick birds. "The (deceased) fell ill as a result of contact with birds," said Shyakar Babayeva, head nurse at the Lung Disease Research Institute in the capital, Baku, where they were treated."I do not believe the virus passed from human to human," she told Reuters. Azerbaijan is located on the Caspian Sea, sandwiched between Russia and Iran. It also shares a border with Turkey where four children died from bird flu in January.The three victims were from a village in the Salyan region, in the south of the country near the Caspian Sea coast. Details were sketchy, but local media said two of them were teenagers, a girl of 17 and a boy aged 16. It was not clear if all three victims came from the same family.

In recent weeks, bird flu has spread deep into Europe, taken hold in Africa and flared anew in Asia, adding urgency to efforts to contain its spread and prevent a pandemic.


International agencies are rushing protection suits and testing kits to Myanmar as the secretive Asian country battles its first outbreak of bird flu.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) agreed to send $40,000 worth of equipment to help the former Burma contain the outbreak on a farm in the central Mandalay region. "The situation is under control. The FAO and other agencies are helping us," Than Daing, deputy director general of the Livestock Breeding & Veterinary Department, told Reuters.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai told his people to avoid touching chickens as the country awaited test results to determine if bird flu found in five chickens is the H5N1 strain. "Don't touch chickens at the moment, until this virus is finished," Karzai told farmers at an agriculture meeting in Kabul.

There is concern that Afghanistan, with weak veterinary and health sectors after decades of war, will struggle to contain an outbreak. - reuters

proof needed to get compensation...
What if your sales simply went down due to FEAR-MONGERING?

EU to help stricken poultry farms

2006/04/25 - European Union agriculture ministers have approved a subsidy package for poultry farmers hit by falling sales and prices due to bird flu.

The European Commission will cover half the costs incurred by EU governments. Farmers will be eligible if they can prove that bird flu led to a slump in demand for their poultry. EU data show that poultry sales have fallen by up to 70% in some EU countries, while prices have slumped by 13% on average. Poultry sales are especially weak in Italy, Greece and Cyprus.

Italy and France have already said they will make a total of 163m euros ($200m; £113m) available to their farmers.

Previously EU aid could only be used to help farmers hit by an outbreak of bird flu on their property, or who could not sell produce because of veterinary restrictions. Speaking in Luxembourg, EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said farmers could now apply for subsidies to compensate for "market disturbances" arising from the bird flu scare.

Ten EU countries, including France and Italy, had urged the EU to pay more than 50%, but failed to persuade the other 15 countries, diplomats said.

The lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu has spread to 13 EU countries - and in Germany and France some cases have been found on poultry farms. H5N1 has killed more than 100 people since 2003 - mostly in Asia. : BBC

minmize the risk? - after the outbreak & the Fear-mongering has done its damage?

World Bank Approves Big Credit To Turkey To Fight Against Bird Flu


"The World Bank Executive Board approved a project credit of $34.4 million to Turkey for the fight against bird flu," reports Xinhua.

"The money will be used to help Turkey minimize the risk of bird flu in animals and to control the spread of all types of flu cases. World Bank Turkey Director Andrew Vorkink was quoted by semi- official Anatolia news agency as saying that with this project, 'the risks of bird flu will be brought to a minimum in Turkey.'"

"Bird flu was first detected in Turkey in October, 2005, and the country then reported a series of outbreaks. So far, the World Health Organization has confirmed four fatal human cases of the H5N1 bird flu virus in Turkey, but there has been no new human case of the deadly disease in the country since Jan. 13. Turkey has culled 2.27 million poultry across the country in an effort to halt the spread of the disease."

Reuters adds that "the loan, drawn from $500 million credit line the World Bank approved in January for countries needing help fighting bird flu, will support prevention, preparedness and planning as well as response and containment of the disease … In January, the World Bank estimated that a global response to bird flu would cost between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion. The bank estimates that an avian flu pandemic lasting a year could cost the global economy a much as $800 billion."



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