- 2 more children have been discharged from hospital after
recovering from avian influenza in eastern Turkey doctors said, as they
stressed that early treatment after infection was proving crucial for survival.
A 9-year-old girl and her 3-year-old brother, 2 of 21 people who have been
infected with avian influenza in Turkey, were discharged late Monday [22
Jan 2006] from the University Hospital in Van, their doctor, Ahmet Faik
Oner, told AFP by telephone. These siblings were cousins of a 16-year-old
girl, one of 4 victims who have died of the disease in the country since
1 Jan 2006, the 1st human fatalities from avian influenza outside Southeast
Asia and China.
- 7 other carriers of the potentially deadly H5N1 avian
influenza virus remain under treatment in different Turkish hospitals.
Turkish officials say the outbreak in their country appears to be fading,
with no new cases reported in nearly a week and infected people staging
- In the Van hospital, where all 4 deaths occurred, physicians
said they were hopeful of saving the remaining 2 patients there, including
the 5-year-old brother of the deceased 16-year-old, who is described as
one of the gravest cases.
- Turkish doctors say the mortality rate they are observing
-- 19 percent -- is encouraging when compared with the 58 percent in eastern
Asia, where the disease has claimed some 80 lives since 2003. "We
see that the sooner the patients are brought to hospital after infection,
the more successful the treatment is," Oner told AFP. "If we
compare the 4 dead children to those who survived, we see that they came
to the hospital 10 days on average after they began showing symptoms, while
the others were hospitalized after 5 days on average," he said.
- While optimism in Turkey is growing, there were fears
that avian influenza may have spread to the Turkish-occupied northern 3rd
of Cyprus. Authorities there have begun culling poultry, after 2 sick birds
showed signs of what could be avian flu, officials said on Tue 24 Jan 2006.
Ferdi Sabit Soyer, the prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern
Cyprus (TRNC) -- a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey -- said on
Monday [23 Jan 2006] that a routine veterinary inspection had revealed
2 suspected cases in a village near Famagusta, on the eastern coast of
the Mediterranean island.
- "Our labs are unable to determine whether or not
this is bird flu," a senior official told AFP in Nicosia. Samples
have been sent to Turkey and Britain for analysis, and results are expected
Thursday [26 Jan 2006]. If the disease is confirmed, they would be the
1st bird flu cases in Cyprus, which lies just 40 nautical miles off Turkey's
southern coast. The internationally-recognized Greek Cypriot government
in the south of the island said in early January 2006 that it was looking
for cooperation from Turkey and the TRNC to prevent the spread of bird
- As of 25 Jan 2006, there is a continuing discrepancy
between the number of confirmed human cases of H5N1 avian influenza virus
infection in Turkey cited by WHO and those reported by the Turkish authorities.
- According to the WHO, the cumulative number of human
cases of H5N1 virus infection in Turkey remains at 4 with 2 deaths, figures
very different from the 21 cases with 4 deaths reported by the Turkish
Ministry of Health. If the WHO figures are used, the mortality rate becomes
50 percent, which is similar to that observed in East Asia, rather than
the 19 percent estimate given by the Turkish authorities. The discrepancy
needs to be resolved: either the Turkish authorities are over-estimating
the number of human avian influenza cases, or the number of cases of infection
in East Asia is being under-estimated. - Mod.CP
- Patricia A. Doyle, DVM, PhD- Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural
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