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Turkey says boy died of bird flu

Jan. 4, 2006 at 11:08 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Turkish health officials are reporting the first known human death from bird flu outside of China and Southeast Asia.

Health Minister Recep Akdag told reporters that Mehmet Ali Kocyigit, 14, died of the H5N1 virus Sunday, CNN reported. Test results confirming the virus came back late Wednesday from a facility in Istanbul.

Officials say the boy's sister is also suffering from bird flu and a third case is suspected.

Eight other people, most of them members of the same family, are hospitalized with flu-like symptoms in the city of Van. The children were from Dogu Beyazit, an agricultural town in eastern Turkey.

Dr. Huseyin Avni Sahin, head of the hospital, said the children's family reported that some of their chickens began dying late last year, and that the family cooked the remaining chickens for dinner, CNN reported.

Shortly after that, he said, four children in the family began feeling ill and were brought to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. Then, a parent and another child from the same family were also admitted to the hospital, Sahin said.

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