US embassy cable - 06ANKARA341

TURKEY AVIAN INFLUENZA: TURKEY AS MODEL FOR REGION

Identifier: 06ANKARA341
Wikileaks: View 06ANKARA341 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ankara
Created: 2006-01-30 15:37:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: TBIO AMED EAID CASC SENV EAGR KPAO TU KFLU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO6358
PP RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHPB
DE RUEHAK #0341/01 0301537
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301537Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2794
INFO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0558
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 1830
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU 1313
RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST 0811
RUEHCH/AMEMBASSY CHISINAU 0348
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 1483
RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA 0983
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 2965
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 1492
RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN 1180
RUEHKU/AMEMBASSY KUWAIT 0801
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 0571
RUEHMK/AMEMBASSY MANAMA 0157
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 5328
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KIEV 0672
RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 6904
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6539
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 6480
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 0076
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 0331
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 9694
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/39CES INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/BDP INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1435
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ASTANA 0073
RUEHZN/EST COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 000341 
 
SIPDIS 
 
USAID FOR TROSTLE, BLANCHET AND CARROLL 
HHS FOR WSTEIGER/PBUDASHEWITZ 
FAS FOR ITP/MACKE/THOMAS, CMP/DLP/WETZEL, FAS/JDEVER 
FAS PASS FSIS AND APHIS 
VIENNA PASS APHIS 
BRUSSELS PASS APHIS/FERNANDEZ 
GENEVA PASS HEALTH ATTACHE 
ROME FOR US MISSION TO FAO 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958:N/A 
TAGS: TBIO, AMED, EAID, CASC, SENV, EAGR, KPAO, TU, KFLU 
SUBJECT: TURKEY AVIAN INFLUENZA: TURKEY AS MODEL FOR REGION 
 
REF: A. ANKARA 263 
 
B. ANKARA 134 AND PREVIOUS 
 
ANKARA 00000341  001.2 OF 004 
 
 
1.  SUMMARY: The USG AI Delegation that recently visited 
Turkey, as well as international organizations on the scene, 
applaud Turkey's robust and transparent response to recent 
AI animal and human outbreaks, including good cooperation 
with international actors.  They cite Turkey's response as a 
regional and global model, particularly as the international 
effort moves to scientific investigation of the Turkey 
experience.  The World Bank is coordinating international 
support for increasing surveillance capacity.   The GOT and 
IOs hope for a USG contribution to this support.  Ambassador 
attended an international coordination meeting, aimed to 
target next steps.  End Summary. 
 
-------------------- 
Situation-Background 
-------------------- 
 
2.  Turkey first experienced an avian influenza outbreak in 
poultry in western Turkey in October that was subsequently 
declared contained after culling in surrounding commercial 
operations.  Later waves of backyard fowl cases were 
identified first in eastern Turkey, but spread to many 
different provinces.  In late December, the virus jumped 
from infected domestic birds to people, eventually infecting 
21 cases confirmed by the GOT.  Four of these persons died, 
all children who helped tend rural backyard poultry. 
Immediately after the outbreak, there were some delays in 
coordinating a GOT response that was exacerbated by a 
weeklong religious holiday, but the crisis now appears to be 
abating.  Both human cases and poultry cases are now under 
control.  Over 1.5 million fowl have been culled, and the 
GOT has implemented an intensive public education program. 
 
3.  An 11-member, multi-agency USG Delegation traveled to 
Ankara and eastern Turkey January 16-22 to assess the 
situation and make recommendations for USG support.  The 
team traveled on to the Caucasus and the Ukraine to assess 
conditions and to share lessons learned from the Turkey 
experience. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
International Partner Coordination - WHO, FAO, UNICEF 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
4.  UNDP ResRep Jakob Simonsen organized a meeting on 
 
ANKARA 00000341  002.2 OF 004 
 
 
January 27 of AI international actors, including the 
Ambassador, aimed to determine next steps in Turkey and 
coordinate assistance.  All organization reps emphasized 
that the GOT's response had been open, quick, efficient, and 
supportive of field investigation and research.  WHO Turkey 
Rep Luigi Migliorini stressed that the situation in Turkey 
was calming down -- with no new human cases reported, 
allowing the WHO teams in Ankara and Van to finish their 
outbreak investigations.  He noted that the WHO DG would 
travel to Turkey during the week of January 30. 
 
5.  FAO Turkey Rep Abdellatif Tabet echoed his positive view 
of Turkey's actions, but noted the initial delay by the GOT 
in identifying and responding to waves of animal outbreaks; 
i.e., the GOT did not quickly control transport of people 
and animals.  He tallied 40 confirmed outbreaks in poultry 
and 80-90 suspected.  The FAO rep called for increased 
capacity in Turkey for early detection and early 
investigations, including increased laboratory and human 
capacity.  Noting the risk of transmission via bird 
migration, he raised potential movement of birds to/from 
Russia and the Red Sea.  The FAO has sent a team to the 
Adana region of Turkey, believing that cold weather in other 
parts of the country will force migratory birds into 
marshlands near Adana. 
 
6.  UNICEF Turkey Edmond McCloughney observed that media 
saturation during the outbreaks helped the GOT succeed in 
getting the right messages through to the public, 
particularly that children were at risk.  He said that 
UNICEF's efforts - working with the MOH - were now focused 
on more concise, punchy messages, working through Ministries 
of Education and Interior to filter down to local levels. 
The UNICEF Rep announced a Feb 6-7 Regional AI communication 
conference in Geneva to focus on communication lessons from 
Asia. 
 
------------------------ 
USG Avian Influenza Team 
------------------------ 
 
7.  Ambassador explained that the USG AI team had not 
returned to Ankara for a de-brief, because it had traveled 
directly on to the Ukraine to continue its mission after the 
Caucasus (Jan 23-27).  He described the team's mission: 
 
a) Gain first-hand information and assessment 
b) Make specific recommendations for USG support 
 
ANKARA 00000341  003.2 OF 004 
 
 
c) Focus on regional approach, using Turkey as a model 
d) Identify lessons for future application - regionally and 
globally. 
 
8.  Responding to GOT and IO concerns of likely unreported 
outbreaks in neighboring countries, Ambassador stressed the 
importance of regional efforts, building on exporting the 
Turkey model for response.  Asked about U.S. assistance to 
Turkey, Ambassador said the AI team would make 
recommendations, but noted that a particularly large effort 
may not be likely.  Instead, Ambassador stated that USG 
contributions could be best leveraged in the Caucasus where 
there was a significant USAID mission presence and we could 
help authorities get ahead of potential outbreaks.  He 
expressed hope that WHO, FAO, and others were in contact 
with Iran, Syria, and Iraq (the first two raising 
difficulties for the USG in making contacts). 
 
9.  The EC Rep announced approval for a fast-track 10 
million euro project for Turkey (8.5 million euros out of EU 
accession funds, rather than Beijing commitments, and 1.5 
million euros in counterpart Turkish contributions), which 
would target animal laboratory upgrades and associated 
equipment, training, and rapid testing capacity.  In 
describing the recent visit of EC Health Commissioner 
Kyprianou, the EC rep noted that his message was the need 
for Turkey and the international community to not let their 
guard down.  The EC Rep stated that a one-week expert 
mission would remain in Turkey. 
 
10.  The World Bank Rep described the provisional $16 
million loan package being developed, which is intended to 
be complemented by the EC grant (and hopefully a USAID 
and/or other USG grant contribution).  The loan/grant 
package would target human, animal, and communication 
components, including compensation and laboratory capacity. 
 
11.  While applauding Turkey's response and openness, IO 
Reps warn the GOT to expect incremental AI cases in Turkey 
and adjoining countries.  Moreover, there is an expectation 
that movements of birds in the spring may continue to fan 
potential spread of the disease in the Middle East, Africa, 
and elsewhere. 
 
12.  In closing, the UNDP ResRep acknowledged the general 
praise of GOT efforts, but highlighted the lack of an "AI 
Czar" or centralized focal point in the GOT.   Despite 
creation of a structure under the Prime Ministry, in effect 
 
ANKARA 00000341  004.2 OF 004 
 
 
there were still parallel crisis coordination centers at the 
MOH and MOAGR.  (The EC Rep corroborated the issue, noting 
that the EC team was unable to organize a joint press 
meeting.)  The WB Rep pointed out that there was a National 
Zoonotic Committee for coordinating scientific 
investigation, with a revolving head.  All the IO reps 
looked forward to illumination of mechanisms for utilization 
of the mix of loans and grants pledged at Beijing. 
 
-------- 
Comment: 
-------- 
 
13.  While we await the AI team's recommendations, post 
believes the U.S. should be responsive in supporting 
Turkey's AI response capacity, as well as promoting it as a 
regional model.  The GOT has asked for support for 
increasing and improving surveillance training/capacity, 
communication, culling incineration, and laboratory 
capacity.  The U.S. could also provide technical assistance 
in developing Turkey's crisis coordination and response 
capability. 
Wilson 

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