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Turkey denies poultry cull fuels tick-borne deaths

Written by: Staff
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ANKARA, July 6 (Reuters) The Turkish government today rejected local press reports that a mass cull of chickens had spurred an increase in deadly ticks that have killed at least 11 people this year.

Some zoologists said in newspaper reports that the killing of chickens that eat ticks harmed environmental balances, causing a rise in the number of ticks.

More than 2 million poultry were culled after four children died of avian flu in eastern Turkey in January, the first human fatalities outside east Asia.

''The number of poultry culled in the provinces (where tick-borne viral fever has been identified) is around 70,000. This is not a number that can affect the tick population,'' the ministry said in a statement.

''There is no relation between lowering the poultry population and an increase in the tick population,'' it said.

A tick-borne viral fever has killed at least 11 people in Turkey this year, creating media talk of a possible epidemic in Turkey. The government called for calm but asked farmers and others in the countryside to take protective measures.

Crimea-Congo hemorrhagic fever has so far been identified in 22 provinces in Turkey, mostly in central Anatolia.

The Crimea-Congo virus is found in many countries in Africa, Europe and Asia and belongs to the same family as the Ebola virus, which has killed hundreds of humans and primates in Africa.

Ebola damages blood vessels and can cause extensive bleeding, diarrhoea and shock. It is transmitted by infected body fluids and kills up to 90 per cent of its victims.

REUTERS SB BD1946

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