Tests confirm that 12-year-old Fatma Ozcan died of bird flu. She is the fourth Kurdish child to die from the disease. From AP:

Preliminary tests have confirmed that a 12-year-old girl who died was infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, raising Turkey’s death toll to four, health officials said Monday.

Fatma Ozcan died Sunday in the eastern city of Van, but initial tests had been negative for H5N1. The Health Ministry ordered more tests after her 5-year-old brother, Muhammet, tested positive. Officials said those confirmed her infection, raising the number of human cases in the country to 20.

Five patients had been discharged from hospitals as of Monday afternoon, leaving only 11 still in treatment, the ministry said.

Authorities hastily buried Fatma on Sunday evening, wrapping her in a special body bag to contain any virus, following a quick prayer by torchlight at a snow-covered cemetery. She was from Dogubayazit — where three siblings died of bird flu 1 1/2 weeks earlier.

According to Reuters, Fatma’s brother is still in critical condition in Wan. He had previously tested positive for bird flu. Reuters also reports that, although there are 20 other confirmed human bird flu cases in Turkey and Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, none of the others are in a life-threatening condition.


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