Turkey steps up bird flu fight as death toll rises

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Turkey steps up bird flu fight as death toll rises

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Already he has lost his older sister to bird flu. Now little Muhammet Ozcan is fighting for his own life.

The five-year-old is critically ill in hospital in eastern Turkey. He has been diagnosed with the deadly strain, H5N1. The country has now had 20 confirmed human bird flu cases, with four deaths recorded. Such statistics are heightening fears at home and abroad. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation is concerned at the risk of the virus crossing borders. A warning was issued from its senior Animal Health Officer Juan Lubroth. “It is very easy to blame wild birds and migration of birds because nobody is responsible,” he said. “It is possible and likely that wild birds may introduce the virus but it is through human activities of commerce and trade that the disease spreads.” Turkey has extended its cull in a bid to contain the outbreak. Elsewhere, the human toll has been creeping higher. Indonesia said a teenage girl died of bird flu at the weekend. A Palestinian chicken farmer being tested at an Israeli hospital, meanwhile, was given the all-clear. At a global donor conference starting on Tuesday in China, the World Bank hopes to raise around a billion euros to combat the disease.