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Turkey's Health Minister Confirms Two Human Cases of Bird Flu


Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag has confirmed two human cases of bird flu in Turkey, including a 14-year-old boy who died this week.

These would be the first reported human cases outside southeast Asia and China.

Mr. Akdag did not say if the boy from the eastern Van province died from the H5N1 strain, which has killed more than 70 people in Asia since 2003. The Associated Press reports that more tests are being carried out. World health officials fear the strain could mutate into one easily spread among humans.

Mr. Akdag said the boy's sister has also tested positive for bird flu and is being hospitalized. The siblings apparently became sick last week after eating poultry.

Earlier Wednesday, China's agriculture ministry reported a new bird flu outbreak in the southwestern Sichuan province.

It said the flu was detected in 1,800 birds late last month. Authorities are taking steps to contain the virus.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.