News - Latest victim of deadly bird virus confirmed by WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) is asking the Turkish government for permission to take blood samples from people living in areas where the deadly strain of the bird flu has shown up.
INDEPTH: Avian Flu
"We have some question marks. We may gather elements that show us how things are changing," said Gueneal Rodier, a communicable diseases expert at the WHO.
Rodier said the WHO wanted to determine how the virus is spreading and who is at risk. Blood tests would reveal whether people were carrying the virus and whether they had antibodies. Health authorities want to track the virus to see if it passes between humans.
The request comes as WHO confirmed Friday a 29-year-old Indonesian woman, who died this week, had become the 79th victim of the H5N1 strain of avian flu.
Turkish authorities are also testing the body of a four-year-old girl, who died Friday, for the deadly virus.
The European Union pledged $100 million US towards the fight against bird flu.
"A global threat needs a global response," said Markos Kyprianou, the EU's health and consumer protection commissioner. "The European Commission will play an important role in that respect."
The WHO recently confirmed an 11-year-old girl in Turkey died of H5N1 after the flu-related deaths of her 14-year-old brother and 15-year-old sister. It's believed all three children had been playing with dead chickens.
Including the three dead children, Turkey has reported a total of 18 cases of avian flu in humans.
FROM JAN. 12, 2006: Third Turkish avian flu death confirmed
Roche, maker of Tamiflu, the best known drug defence against the deadly strain, say they will donate more antiviral pills to the WHO for "rapid response" stockpiles.
Two children who tested positive for H5N1 were discharged from a hospital in eastern Turkey after being treated with Tamiflu.
Turkey has culled more than 450,000 birds in the past two weeks. Its neighbour, Iran, has also begun the process along its border with Turkey.
A top UN official said on Thursday the world needs to donate about $1.7 billion to fight the spread of avian flu and prevent a pandemic in humans.
The first international donors conference on avian flu is next week in Beijing.
CBC News: Latest victim of deadly bird virus confirmed by WHO