The number of Turkish people thought to be infected with avian flu rose to more than 50 this weekend, prompting concern that the disease may be about to spread into Europe. Yesterday a British laboratory confirmed that a Turkish brother and sister who died last week had the feared H5N1 strain of avian flu. A third child from the same family in Dogubayazit, in eastern Turkey, has now died of avian flu and dozens more suspected cases have emerged. “The laboratory in the UK said that they have detected H5N1 in samples of the two fatal cases, said Maria Cheng, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organisation. They are the first fatalities outside East Asia. The disease is most likely to have been carried to Turkey by migratory birds, which have already spread it across Asia and parts of Russia. Last year a number of birds with the illness were found in Europe. The fear is that these will cross-infect domestic poultry, which will pass the disease on to humans. Yesterday six more children who have tested positive for avian flu remained in a critical condition in the Turkish city of Van, near Dogubayazit. Another […]

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