Jan 4, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Turkey today confirmed two human cases of avian influenza, contradicting earlier statements and marking the disease’s first attack on people outside East Asia, according to news reports this afternoon.A 14-year-old boy who died Jan 1 and a sister who is hospitalized in serious condition both tested positive for avian flu, according to news reports quoting Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag. He said a third sibling also has a suspected case.Two days ago Turkish officials said the two young people and two other siblings had tested negative for avian flu. The children had helped raise poultry on a farm in eastern Turkey and had been in contact with sick birds, the Associated Press reported.Akdag did not say if the two patients tested positive for the H5N1 virus specifically. But Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of this Web site, said he was told the virus was confirmed as H5N1.”The lab in Turkey that ran the most recent tests is a very competent lab that’s been collaborating with WHO [the World Health Organization] in the past, and there’s no reason to doubt these results,” Osterholm told CIDRAP News.The WHO’s human avian flu case count, which at this writing did not show the Turkish cases, lists 142 cases with 74 deaths. They include cases in Vietnam, Thailand, China, Indonesia, and Cambodia.An Agence France-Presse (AFP) report today said nine people have been hospitalized with a fever and cough in the city of Van, where the 14-year-old died.The confirmed case-patients came from the town of Dobubeyazit, about 40 miles from Aralik, where Turkish authorities last week reported an H5 virus in chickens, the AP report said. Turkey’s first H5N1 outbreak in poultry was reported Oct 5 on a farm in Kiziksa, in the northeast, according to AFP.Commenting on the cases, Osterholm said, “This should not be considered unexpected. There were sick birds, and the family had contact with them.””This does not mean we’re closer to a pandemic; it means that the situation in Southeast Asia is moving,” he said. Bird populations and the “density” of the H5N1 virus in birds remain much greater in East Asia than elsewhere, and the risk of an emerging pandemic strain is still greatest there, he added.However, he said, “The fact that there’s more virus circulating in more birds around the world means there’s a greater likelihood of mutational change” that could lead to a pandemic strain.
A block maker was in the wee hours of Monday morning found lying a short distance away from his East Bank Demerara (EBD) home with gaping wounds to his head and face.Munir Amin of Lot 51 First Street, Garden of Eden, EBD, is in a critical condition at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC). According to reports, the injured 31-year-old man was discovered lying in a pool of blood at about 03:30h by a villager, who in turn alerted his parents.His father, Noel Seu told Guyana Times that his son left home at about 17:00h toInjured: Munir Aminattend a wedding at Hope, EBD and at about 03:30h, he was informed that the young man was lying on the roadway in an unconscious state.Without hesitation, the father stated that he picked up his son and rushed him to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre where he was treated and transferred to the GPHC.The father explained that when he received the news, he rushed to the scene only to see a gaping wound to his son’s head, with his eyes bulging out. At that time, he could not say if his son was attacked and beaten or if he was a victim of a hit-and-run accident.Further, Seu noted that his son was at the wedding since his friend confirmed this. When asked if he had an issue with anyone at the wedding, the father in distress stated that his son would often walk away from trouble.“He is not someone who would start a fight and at the same time, he is not someone who will stay when a fight is going on… He has a lot of friends and he is a peaceful chap,” the father stated. The man explained that a report was lodged at the Grove Police Station and is hopeful that a thorough investigation is conducted.“The people that live next to where they find meh son, got cameras on them house. So when I leave the hospital this afternoon (Monday), I will stop at the Grove Police Station and tell them so that they can go collect it and see what really happen to meh son,” the man added.He farther explained that his son underwent a CT-Scan after which he was taken to theater for emergency surgery. The young man resides at his parents’ home at Garden of Eden.Meanwhile, the Police in a release to the media revealed they are investigating the incident.
The multimillion-dollar Child and Family Friendly Centre which will serve as a temporary shelter for the less fortunate is slated to open soon.Social Protection Minister Amna AllyThis is according to Social Protection Minister Amna Ally, who told reporters on Friday that the facility, which is the first of its kind in Guyana, was expected to be completed in another six weeks.“Actually, the outer building is completed, but there are some fineries that have to be done to make it habitable and safe. So, the opening is going to be probably by the end of September, early October,” Ally said.The facility’s purpose is to avoid separation of families and provide care for children as they transition from difficult circumstances.“There are eight family apartments, independent family apartments for families. There are also four apartments for children of different ages, boys and girls, and there is a training centre for counselling sessions. We do not want to just provide housing for persons that will be here at the facility but ensure they received every other necessity to help them transform,” Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) Director Ann Greene had said earlier this year.Other facilities constructed in the compound are a mess hall, administration building, storage department, coaching department and playground. Greene had highlighted that there would be strict regulations and standard operating procedures implemented to guide the acceptance of families who desire to use the facility.Three years ago, a fire gutted the previous Drop-In Centre on Hadfield Street, Georgetown. However, this newly-constructed facility will have heightened safety measures.The 2016 fire had destroyed the entire top flat of the centre’s Hadfield Street location and claimed the lives of Antonio and Joshua George, aged two and six. The preliminary report on the fire had found that the centre had systematic problems and bad policy arrangements in the event of a fire or similar emergency.A Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report into the fire conducted by Retired Colonel Windee Algernon found that the children/staffer ratio was not adhered to and that on the morning of the fire, there were not enough staff on duty to meet the needs of the children. Additionally, the house service supervisor, while she had the authority to call out more staff, failed to do so.The CoI had also found that there were written guidelines for the management of crisis situations, including fires; however, the house manager and other senior staff seemed unfamiliar with them. And so when the fire occurred, there was confusion and panic, resulting in the tragedy.Of note too is that the Inquiry found that the fire was caused by a defective electrical outlet fitted with exposed wires on the eastern wall of the girls’ dormitory.