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Turkish officials cull poultry in an effort to halt an outbreak of bird flu in early January (file photo) (epa)
31 January 2006 -- Following confirmation of the first death from bird flu in Iraq, local health authorities are taking urgent measures to prevent the disease spreading.
Iraqi officials have cordoned off the home village of the victim, a 15-year-old girl. They also tightened controls on border-entry points.
The village lies close to the Turkish border.
Four people have died in neighboring Turkey from bird flu, though the outbreak there appears to have stabilized. Turkish officials say the victims contracted the illness from close contact with sick birds and not through human-to-human transmission.
The victim died on 17 January, but Iraqi Health Minister Abd al-Muttalib Muhammad Ali confirmed bird flu as the cause only on 30 January. As a precaution a state of emergency was declared on 18 January, with the government also placing orders for bird-flu vaccine.
Officials in northern Iraq say hospitals in the region are treating 12 patients suspected of having bird flu. A World Health Organization team is preparing to travel to the area to assist.