Fears over the spread of bird flu are sweeping Turkey after it claimed the lives of three children from the same family. A cull of poultry is underway in the area where the youngsters died. At least two of them fell victim to the virulent H5N1 strain in the rural eastern town of Dogubeyazit.
The World Health Organisation has confirmed that two other children from the same region are in hospital with the same deadly type of the virus. Such is the anxiety that crowds have been gathering outside agricultural offices to dump sacks of dead birds or ask for their poultry to be culled.
Doctors believe the dead children had been playing with the severed heads of infected chickens.
The European Commission has confirmed that the H5N1 strain of bird flu caused the recent outbreak among poultry in eastern Turkey.
It is also feared avian influenza could be linked to the deaths of other animals in the region. The disease, meanwhile, has been detected in two wild ducks near Ankara – suggesting migratory birds may be spreading the virus.