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    Turkish teenager died from pneumonia not bird flu

    Hürriyet Haber
    02.01.2006 - 10:34 | Son Güncelleme:

    A child who died on Sunday from what was believed to be a case of suspected bird flu in eastern Turkey, has been cleared of any links to death by the virus. Media reports on Sunday said that the boy was suspected of dying from bird flu, however, the Ministry of Health announced on Monday morning that the boy did not die from the deadly H5 type virus, but died from pneumonia. The announcement comes as a relief to those across the world who have suffered from the virus in late 2005, as it would have been the first of its type outside of east Asia, where some 70 people have died since 2003, provoking fear of a world wide epidemic.

    Four siblings were rushed into hospital in eastern Turkey on Sunday showing symptoms of the flu. The children who are aged between 11 to 15, had eaten chicken in the town of Dogubeyazit, near the Iranian border.

    Muhammet Ali Kocyigit, aged 14, was named as the child who has died, reported the NTV and CNN-Turk television stations said.

    Doctors said the cause of his death could have been bird flu or an ordinary case of flu complicated by an infection, adding that samples had been sent to Ankara for analysis. "They had a fever, were coughing and bleeding from the mouth," said hospital doctor Huseyin Avni Sahin.

    The television reports said two other people with the same symptoms had been admitted to the Van hospital on Sunday. In recent days, two outbreaks of bird flu have been detected in Turkey, the latest last week in the small town of Aralik, less than 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Dogubeyazit.

    Birds in the town tested positive for the H5 virus but on Tuesday an official said it was not clear whether any of them carried the deadly H5N1 strain. As a precaution some 750 birds were slaughtered and all sales of poultry have been banned around Aralik which was put under quarantine.

    In mid-December nearly 1,200 birds were found dead in the region. Turkey faces a persistent threat from bird flu as it lies on a major migratory flight path.

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