Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Avian influenza – situation in Turkey - update 5

16 January 2006

Laboratory tests conducted at Turkey’s national influenza centre in Ankara have confirmed two additional cases of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The first newly confirmed case is a five-year-old boy from the district of Dogubayazit in Agri Province in the eastern part of the country. He remains hospitalized in a stable condition.

His 14-year-old sister died on 15 January of a respiratory disease with clinical features similar to those seen in H5N1 infection. Test results received today have confirmed her infection.

As with all other cases seen in Turkey to date, both children developed illness following direct exposure to diseased poultry.

Ducks began dying in the family’s household flock on 1 January. On that day, the girl, assisted by her brother, slaughtered a duck for food. Both children developed symptoms on 4 January and both were hospitalized on 11 January. No other family members have developed signs of illness. These newly confirmed cases bring the total in Turkey to 20, of which four were fatal. Of the 20 cases, 18 have been children in the age range of four to 18 years.

A large number of patient samples have been sent to a WHO collaborating laboratory in the United Kingdom for verification of diagnosis and further analysis. WHO will adjust the number of cases and deaths in Turkey in its cumulative table of laboratory-confirmed cases upon receipt of results from the UK laboratory.

New outbreaks in birds continue to be reported across the country. To date, poultry outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza have been confirmed in 12 of the country’s 81 provinces. Outbreaks in an additional 19 provinces are under investigation.

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