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Hospital at center of Turkish bird flu outbreak appeals for international help
Thu Jan 12 2006 09:40:30 ET

The chief physician of the hospital where all three victims of the Turkish bird flu outbreak have died, appealed Thursday for the international community to urgently assist Turkey in combating the virus.

"The European Union and the international community are not yet active in Turkey," Huseyin Avni Sahin of the university hospital in the eastern city of Van told AFP.

"There is one fact you must not forget: birds don't need passports. Imposing border controls and saying, 'I'm safe' is a huge lie," he said, referring to an EU embargo on the import of poultry and related products from Turkey.

In order to save lives and prevent a much-feared mutation of bird flu into a form transmissible between humans, Sahin said, Turkey needs more laboratories capable of rapidly identifying the virus.

Five patients currently under treatment at the Van hospital have tested positive for H5N1, Sahin said, while 41 others, 29 of them children, are under observation with symptoms of the virus.

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