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World Bank makes $34.4 mln bird flu loan to Turkey

by 5m Editor
25 April 2006, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON - The World Bank approved a $34.4 million loan on Monday to help Turkey combat avian flu in birds and humans, the bank said in a statement. The loan, drawn from $500 million credit line the World Bank approved in January for countries needing help fighting bird flu, will support prevention, preparedness and planning as well as response and containment of the disease, it said. Four children died of the H5N1 strain of avian flu in eastern Turkey in January, the first human fatalities outside east Asia. The H5N1 avian flu virus has spread quickly in recent months, and has been reported in more than 40 countries across Asia, Europe and parts of Africa. The disease has killed 110 people and infected 196 since 2003. It remains primarily an animal disease, but experts say the virus could acquire the ability to pass rapidly from human to human and could kill millions of people in a pandemic. In January, the World Bank estimated that a global response to bird flu would cost between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion. The bank estimates that an avian flu pandemic lasting a year could cost the global economy a much as $800 billion. <i>Source: Reuters</i>

5m Editor