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    Bird flu claims its third victim in Turkey

    Hürriyet Haber
    06 Ocak 2006 - 09:25Son Güncelleme : 06 Ocak 2006 - 09:28

    Bird flu has claimed its third victim in Turkey, the sister of the first two victims died early on Friday morning in the eastern city of Van, doctors said. The latest victim, a girl, Hulya Kocyigit, was hospitalized several days ago and had been in intensive care on an artificial respirator for days, said Huseyin Avni Sahin, the chief doctor at the hospital. The girl's death comes just days after her brother and sister died from bird flu at the same hospital this week. A fourth family member is now being tested for bird flu like symptoms.

    Although it has not yet been confirmed that the deaths were caused by the H5N1 type virus, a spokeswoman in Geneva for the World Health Organization said however, that the strain thought to be highly dangerous to humans was the likely culprit.

    The Kocyigit family is from the remote town of Dogubeyazit, near Turkey's borders with Iran and Armenia, where many families depend on poultry breeding for their livelihoods and live close to their animals.

    Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag said Thursday that the family "lived in the same household with infected chickens, which they then consumed." Humans can contract bird flu only if they come into contact with infected birds.

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