Turkey reports first two human cases of bird flu including boy who died | VailDaily.com

Turkey reports first two human cases of bird flu including boy who died

ANKARA, Turkey – A 14-year-old farm boy who died after developing pneumonia-like symptoms has tested positive for bird flu, Turkey’s health minister said Wednesday. If confirmed in further tests, it would be the first human death from the ailment outside of east Asia.The boy’s sister, who is hospitalized and in serious condition, also tested positive for bird flu, Health Minister Recep Akdag said. A third sibling is also suspected of having bird flu, he said.Akdag did not say if the boy had died of the deadly H5N1 strain, but he said samples were being sent to European labs for further tests.Authorities are closely monitoring H5N1, for fear it could mutate into a form easily passed between humans and spark a pandemic.If the boy’s death is confirmed as being H5N1, it would be the first death outside eastern areas of Asia in the current outbreak. The disease has killed 70 people – many of them farm workers in close contact with fowl from Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.The Turkish teenager, Mehmet Ali Kocyigit, died in a hospital in the southeastern Van province on Sunday.Birds in Turkey, Romania, Russia and Croatia have recently tested positive for H5N1.Kocyigit was among two brothers and two sisters between ages 6 and 15 who were admitted to hospital last week after developing high fevers, coughing and bleeding in their throats.The children helped to raise poultry on a small farm in the town of Dogubeyazit, near Mount Ararat – believed to be the resting place of Noah’s Ark – and were in close contact with sick birds.Dogubeyazit is some 40 miles away from the town of Aralik where Turkish authorities last week said some chickens had tested positive for an H5 variant of bird flu.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism