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Four Turkish Children Hosptalized With H5N1 Bird Flu Symptoms
December 31, 2005
4 children suspected of having bird flu have been hospitalized in the Doğu Beyazıt county (which is a county of Agri - Ararat province). The family have cut and eaten their sick chickens. Their throat swabs have been sent to Ankara, the children have fever, cough and blood in their gums.
The above translation of a Turkish news reports describes four suspect bird flu cases in eastern Turkey near the most recent confirmed H5N1 outbreak. If confirmed, this would be the first human H5N1 cases outside of Asia.
Recent OIE reports indicate that H5N1 on the Crimea peninsula and Volga Delta may be changing. Birds in these area would be migrating south and may be linked to the recent confirmed cases in western Turkey.
The clinical description listed above is consistent with bird flu, but 4 children from the same family would signal more efficient transmission. Recombination between H5N1 in wild birds and H9N2 in domestic poultry could generate the HA polymorphism S227N, which is linked to increased affinity for human receptors which would lead to more efficient transmission.
More details on the patients would be useful.