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Four children tested for possible bird flu in Turkey
Updated: 2006-01-01 14:26

Four children, taken ill after eating a chicken, were being tested for possible bird flu, a doctor said Saturday.

The children _ two brothers and two sisters aged between six and 15 _ were admitted to a hospital in southeastern Van province after developing high fever, coughing, and bleeding in the throat area, Dr Huseyin Avni Sahin of 100. Yil Hospital told NTV television.

He said the four were being tested for bird flu because they had developed the symptoms after eating a family chicken that was sick.

Turkish authorities this week announced that some chickens had tested positive for an H5 variant of bird flu and placed parts of an eastern town near the border with Armenia under quarantine.

The virus was first detected Monday following tests on samples taken from the town of Aralik, in the Igdir province bordering Armenia, where deaths of chickens have been reported in recent days.

Authorities have culled close to 500 chickens at Aralik to prevent it from spreading and sent samples to laboratories in Europe to see if the virus is H5N1, which is being tracked worldwide out of fear that it could mutate into a form that is easily transmitted to humans.

The four children were from the town of Dogubayazit, just 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Aralik, Sahin said. Officials at 100. Yil Hospital could not immediately be reached.

In October, Turkish authorities culled more than 10,000 poultry after they detected the deadly H5N1 virus in the northwestern town of Kiziksa, near Istanbul. Earlier this month, authorities said the threat of virus in that area was eliminated, but warned that migratory birds could still spread the flu elsewhere.

Since 2003, the strain of bird flu has ravaged flocks of birds in Asia and killed at least 71 people there _ most of them farm workers in close contact with birds.

Birds in Turkey, Romania, Russia and Croatia recently tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain in birds, but no human cases have been detected.

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