Bird flu caused Iraqi girl's death

A United Nations official and the health minister in Iraqi Kurdistan today said a 15-year-old girl who died earlier this month in northern Iraq was a victim of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, the first known case of the disease in the country.

A United Nations official and the health minister in Iraqi Kurdistan today said a 15-year-old girl who died earlier this month in northern Iraq was a victim of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, the first known case of the disease in the country.

“Today we started a campaign to kill birds in three towns – Ranya, Dukan and Qaladaza. We formed committees to do so,” said Kurdistan Health Minister Mohammed Khoshnow.

The UN official said testing on blood samples from the girl, who died on January 17, were done at the US Navy Medical Research Unit in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The official had been supervising the examination of samples sent by the regional government in northern Iraq. He said 30 other samples from northern Iraq were being tested.

The girl died in a Kurdish area near the border with Turkey and Iran after contracting a severe lung infection. Her hometown of Ranya is just north of a reservoir that is a stopover for migratory birds from Turkey.

Her uncle, who lived in the same home, died on January 27.

The two lived near Ranya, which is just north of a reservoir that is a stopover for migratory birds from Turkey.

Turkey is battling an outbreak of the deadly virus. At least 21 there have contracted the virus, according to preliminary tests. Of those ill with the disease, four children died.

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