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First case of swine flu confirmed in Turkey - health minister

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Saturday, 16 May 2009 09:18

Turkey reported Saturday its first case of swine flu in a man who had traveled to Istanbul from the United States. Tests showed the wife of the victim had also contracted the virus, news channels said.

A U.S. citizen, flying from the United States via Amsterdam was found to be suffering from the swine flu after arriving at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport en route to Iraq on Thursday, Health Minister Recep Akdag told a news conference.

Akdag said the influenza A(H1N1) virus, the formal name for swine flu, had been confirmed in blood tests carried out after thermal cameras picked up the fact that the man was running a high fever.

"The man’s condition, in general, is good, and he has been placed in isolation along with his family," Akdag said.

Tests showed the wife of the 27-year-old Iraqi-born man had also contracted the H1N1 virus, Turkish news channels reported. Authorities did not confirm the second case of the virus.

Most of 166 passengers on the KLM flight to Istanbul had been contacted and given anti-viral medicines, Akdag also told reporters. He urged those who authorities had not been able to reach to call a hot line established to assist them.

"Everything is under our control," Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told reporters before departing for a trip to Russia. "Everything is being monitored closely."

Turkey has installed 27 thermal cameras at its borders and in airports to monitors passengers for symptoms of swine flu.

Nearly 1,000 new cases of the flu were reported worldwide in 24 hours, with 8,451 people known to have been infected with the disease, according to the latest figures issued by the World Health Organization on Saturday.

The number of people killed by the influenza A(H1N1) virus also rose to 72, compared with 65 on Friday, the WHO said.

Over the past week the number of people infected by the virus has risen sharply, going up by around 1,000 a day since Monday.

Turkey is the 36th country in the world to report an incident of swine flu. The United States, followed by Mexico, where the epidemic began, have recorded the highest number of cases.

 

 

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