Two Die of Bird Flu in Turkey

Posted on January 4, 2006

The first deaths from H5N1 avian flu virus have been reported in Turkey. The BBC reports that 14-year-old boy and his sister have died from the disease. A third sibling is also ill with bird flu. The BBC talked to a WHO official who called the Turkey cases a significant development.
Guenael Rodier, a special adviser on communicable diseases at the WHO, told the BBC that while he was not surprised by the case, it was a significant development.

"It shows a geographic extension of human cases and certainly increases altogether the overall likelihood that at some point this virus will adapt to humans," he said.

"So it's important this is going to be investigated, and a WHO team is on its way to the Far East and Turkey with nationals to investigate."
Even though these cases all came from the same family health experts are saying the infection came from contact with an infected bird and not from human-to-human transmission.

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