(06/01/06) Vier doden door vogelgriep in Oost-Turkije. Europese Commissie neemt maatregelen

Suspected human cases of avian influenza in Turkey: the Commission is working in close contact with the Turkish authorities, and the WHO, the OIE/FAO and the ECDC to clarify the situation

The European Commission has been informed through the WHO that available results from National and University Laboratories in Ankara suggest that four people, including a boy and a girl who died respectively on Sunday and last night, have been infected with avian influenza virus. There may be additional suspected cases. An outbreak of this disease was confirmed in chickens in eastern Turkey, in the vicinity of the border with Armenia and Iran, a few days ago. A Community veterinary expert, who is also a member of the OIE/FAO network of expertise for Avian Influenza (OFFLU) an epidemiologist from the ECDC together with WHO experts, will be in Turkey today to review the situation in cooperation with the Turkish authorities. In the meantime, samples from the sick chickens which might have transmitted the disease to the humans are expected to arrive today at the Community Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza in Weybridge. This will clarify whether the animal outbreak was due to the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza. The Turkish authorities are also sending samples from the human cases to a WHO reference laboratory in Colindale (UK), to confirm or exclude that the virus in question is the same as that in the chickens. The European Commission together with the ECDC and the WHO is closely monitoring the situation especially from an epidemiological point of view. Obviously, the complete ban on any import from Turkey of live birds and poultry products adopted in early October 2005 remains in place. (ECDC: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. It is the public health agency of the EU - FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - OIE: World Organization for Animal Health - WHO: World Health Organization)

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