Tuesday, February 07, 2006


162 Suspected Human Bird Flu Infections In Northern Iraq

Iraq is now on high alert for an epidemic of human bird flu infections. Three deaths are now believed to be related to the avian influenza virus.

A 15 year old girl who died on January 15 was confirmed as Iraq's first human victim of the bird flu virus after blood tests in London proved positive.

World Health Organisation officials sent an emergency response team to Northern Iraq last week to help contain the infections.

Iraqi authorities are terrified of what pandemic bird flu would do to a health care system already swamped by war casualties, blackouts and massive shortages of essential medical equipment and medications.

Locals in the Kurdish region, bordering Turkey, where the virus has proliferated, claim more than one hundred dead birds washed up the river banks before dozens fell ill with suspected avian influenza symptoms.

More than 50 villages in the region bordering Turkey, home to 400,000 people, are now under quarantine (nobody in, nobody out), bird slaughter teams have been dispatched to begin cullings and roads have been blocked, or closed until further notice.

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