Turkey catches the Flu
Cebeci, Turkey
By Telis Demos

(FORTUNE Magazine) - TURKEY HAS LONG BEEN THOUGHT OF AS THE crossroads of East and West. But since October, when an outbreak of avian flu in humans was confirmed in one of its small towns, that role has taken on new meaning. Until then, the deadly H5N1 virus, which has killed 80 people since 2003, hadn't claimed a human victim outside Asia. Suddenly it was on Europe's doorstep. Turkish authorities created 11 quarantine zones, including the village of Cebeci, and killed more than 300,000 birds. But not before 21 cases of the virus had spread to humans, killing four children who had been in contact with chickens on family farms. Turkey has spent $24.3 million so far to contain the flu, and the country's $2.5 billion chicken industry has been devastated: Sales have fallen 85% since October, according to poultry producers. The EU, U.S., and other donors have pledged $1.9 billion to provide loans for poorer countries to set up prevention programs. Meanwhile, Turkey's flu has spread to Romania, Croatia, and Ukraine, though no humans have been infected. Top of page