Another human death from bird flu has been confirmed in Turkey, while a suspected case has rattled neighbouring Romania. At least three people are now known to have died of the H5N1 strain of the virus in Turkey, and at least 15 others have been infected. Meanwhile a Turkish citizen has been admitted to a hospital in Bucarest with bird flu-like symptoms. Romania has been on alert as the virus spreads westwards across its giant neighbour.
But despite a mass cull, some people in Turkey’s hard-hit eastern provinces say authorities have not done enough. “We demand action before our people fall ill or die,” one villager said. It is estimated more than 300,000 poultry have been slaughtered, but there are worries about people coming into contact with infected birds that have not been killed. Turkey’s eastern neighbours have taken precautions. Iran is carrying out its own cull and has stopped trading with the region around Dogubayazit just across the border – that is where the fatal bird flu cases occurred.
And Georgia has tightened controls on commerce on its frontier with Turkey. Like Turkey, Georgia has distributed leaflets to try to raise awareness of the disease and suggest ways of minimising the risk of contracting it. Meanwhile in Tokyo experts are attending a conference organised by the World Health Organisation to discuss the virus’s spread. They are warning that the threat of it mutating and sparking a global pandemic is growing.