The body of a four-year-old child suspected of being the latest victim of bird flu has been laid to rest in eastern Turkey. The girl’s father said she could barely breathe when she was taken to hospital but it was not known why she died. Samples are being tested in Ankara to see if she had contracted the disease, which has killed three youngsters in the region. A further 15 people are confirmed to have been infected with bird flu in the country but are not seriously ill. In response to the crisis, the European Union has unveiled a multi-million euro package ahead of a donors’ conference in Beijing next week.
External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: “Our philosophy then is to address the problem at the source and to focus on helping third countries implement their own national strategies for tackling the disease.” In Turkey it is reported 7,000 birds have been culled today alone, with more than 350,000 destroyed in the past two weeks in an effort to stamp out the disease. Researchers in Britain have found the bird flu strain in Turkey was passed from birds to humans. Scientists fear the virus could mutate into a form that passes easily between people. However they have found it is sensitive to the Tamiflu drug and another anti-viral medication.