Five dead amid swine flu fears in Turkey, officials urge calm

Five dead amid swine flu fears in Turkey, officials urge calm

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Five dead amid swine flu fears in Turkey, officials urge calm

AA photo

A total of five patients with swine flu-like symptoms have died in the first week of 2016 in two Turkish provinces, as authorities have urged for calm, stressing the definitive causes of death were yet to be determined. 

A total of 45 patients checked in to Adana’s Numune Training and Research Hospital in the southern province with symptoms including a high fever last week. After examinations, six patients were hospitalized over suspicions of the H1N1 virus, colloquially known as swine flu. 

While the hospital stalled admitting patients to its emergency services, special teams were formed in its infectious disease clinic. 

Three of these patients, two Syrians and one four-month-pregnant Turkish woman, died while receiving treatment. Samples from all three victims were sent to the Refik Saydam Hıfzıssıhha Center in Ankara for further examination. 

Adana Governor Mustafa Büyük told reporters it was too soon to say the patients had died of swine flu, as other illnesses might have been triggered as well.

“We will know for certain once lab results are out,” Büyük said. 

Meanwhile, a woman with a high fever and another being treated for swine flu died in the first days of January in central Anatolian Niğde province. 

However, Niğde Health Director Dr. Yılmaz Yücel also underlined it was too early to jump to conclusions about swine flu. 

“It would not be right to say they died of swine flu. It can also be a rapidly progressing lung infection,” he said. “People should not panic. Such illnesses are normal due to the winter season,” Yücel added. 

In addition to the swine flu panic, five patients possibly infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) are currently hospitalized in central Anatolian Kayseri province.

The patients, identified as Baki Şahin, his wife Neziha Şahin and their relatives Cevriye Şahin, Hanife Aydın and a fifth unidentified kin, had reportedly recently returned from the Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca.