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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Another Turkish Child Dies From Bird Flu

This is very sad. She was twelve. She has not been officially confirmed, but her brother has. Her brother is also critically ill:
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 the Ozcan family comes from.
WHO has asked for permission to go into this area and conduct widespread tests on humans to see how many people have been exposed. As it now stands, all four fatalities have come from the same area. Even worse, a large number of the unconfirmed hospitalized appear to come from just three families there. See the Recombinomics commentary. Given that the tests on one of the first three fatalities showed an additional genetic change in the virus, this does seem like a worrisome pattern.

In the meantime, there's another large cluster in Indonesia. The official case count there is 12 dead out of 17 cases; it is obvious that they are missing large numbers of infected cases. China is up to 8 with five dead, and they appear to be worried about possible human to human strains:
Spring Festival is just around the corner, traditionally when families get together for celebrations.

Millions of Chinese will be on the move, which could make it easier for a virus such as H5N1 to be passed on.

More than 10 billion trips are expected to be made by train, bus, air and ship passengers from the middle of this month to early February.

Although we have established bird flu monitoring stations across the country, more efforts are needed to upgrade monitoring and preventative measures during this special period.

Measures should be taken to sterilize passenger vehicles and waiting rooms at railway stations, airports and bus stations. Medical teams should be ready to handle suspected cases among travellers.
It makes one think about the Boxun reports....

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