US embassy cable - 06ADANA28

US AVIAN INFLUENZA TEAM VISITS VAN IN EASTERN TURKEY

Identifier: 06ADANA28
Wikileaks: View 06ADANA28 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Adana
Created: 2006-02-08 11:08:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: KFLU PGOV TU ADANA Avian Influenza Virus
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADANA 000028 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KFLU, PGOV, TU, ADANA, Avian Influenza Virus 
SUBJECT: US AVIAN INFLUENZA TEAM VISITS VAN IN EASTERN TURKEY 
 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  The U.S. interagency Avian Influenza (AI) 
team traveled to Van, Turkey on January 22 for talks with local 
officials.  The team met with the Acting Governor and the Deputy 
Governor, who heads up the province's interagency AI crisis 
management center.  The team then split into two groups 
representing animal health and human health concerns, who met 
with their local counterparts.  Part of the human health team 
toured Van Centennial University Hospital's AI unit.   The AI 
team was satisfied with the Van government's timely and 
transparent response, and encouraged local officials to continue 
their cooperation with the U.S. and other international 
institutions to fight the spread of AI in Turkey and globally. 
Van government officials expressed appreciation for the team's 
visit and promised to take the team's recommendations seriously, 
while continuing their policy of open, transparent and 
internationally cooperative response to AI.  End summary. 
 
2. (SBU) The Deputy Governor told the team that, in response to 
the AI outbreak, his office established the Crisis Center, the 
Human Health Commission and the Animal Health Commission.  The 
Crisis Center was established and began monitoring the 
implementation of the two commissions' policy decisions on 
January 4, 2006, five days after Turkey's two initial human AI 
cases checked in to Van University's Centennial Hospital on 
December 31, 2005.  The Van Deputy Governor presides and 
coordinates among agencies on the provincial Crisis Management 
team.  It is composed of representatives from the Van Provincial 
Health Directorate, Van Provincial Agricultural Directorate, Van 
Centennial University Research Hospital, Van Municipality, Van 
Provincial Security (Turkish National Police) Directorate, Van 
Provincial Jandarma Command, Van Provincial Environment and 
Forestry Directorate, National Health Ministry, Van Provincial 
Health Protection Directorate, Van Provincial Public Relations 
Office, and the World Health Organization.  The Sub-Governor 
told the team that the provincial crisis team coordinated with 
neighboring provinces and other central government agencies, 
pursuing high-level contacts as necessary. 
 
3. (SBU) The Deputy Governor explained that the commissions for 
human health and animal health were established to work through, 
and provide support for, provincial sub-governor offices 
(including 11 townships and Van city, each with smaller versions 
of the provincial AI response administrations) to implement 
provincial-level commission decisions regarding human and animal 
health concerns.  The Human Health Commission designated Van 
Centennial University Research Hospital as the sole hospital in 
the province to receive AI cases since it was a research 
hospital and was the best equipped hospital in the province. 
The Ministry of Health provided additional equipment and 
personnel to the hospital.  On January 3, 2006, the commission 
began a public outreach campaign via television, brochures, 
local health and farming institutions, mosques and schools 
throughout the province to inform the public about AI. 
 
4. (SBU) On January 3, the Animal Health Commission established 
quarantine areas within the province and prohibitions on entry 
and exit of animals into/from the province, as well as across 
the Iran border (where vehicles entering the province are 
disinfected; also at airports in the province).  The commission 
banned the purchase and sale of fowl from/to other provinces. 
The commission established 85 culling teams throughout the 
province. Each team was composed of a veterinarian, a driver and 
three workers.  Teams report their activities to the crisis 
center every day by 1800 hours, providing the AI administration 
with continuing updates on numbers of culled fowl and any 
related devlelopments throughout the province.  As of January 
22, the teams had destroyed 416,000 out of an estimated total 
population of 594,000 fowls, with no reports of illness among 
culling personnel. 
 
5. (SBU) As with the Human Health Commission, the Animal Health 
Commission implemented a comprehensive public outreach campaign 
to inform the public about avoiding contact with winged fowl and 
related products.  The commission is also working with local 
institutions to educate the public about the dangers involved in 
small-scale backyard poultry raising.  Both government 
interlocutors and our contacts around town revealed to us that 
many small-scale, backyard poultry operators hide their birds 
from culling teams, while ignoring the possible health risks, 
and complaining that government compensation (approximately 5 
YTL per bird) is below the practical replacement value for their 
birds. 
 
6. (SBU) The Deputy Governor told the team that the government 
long has been encouraging local farmers to use covered, 
integrated installations for raising poultry to ensure less 
contact with possibly infected wild birds (i.e., increase 
bio-security).  The province currently has three large-capacity 
poultry installations: one with 194,000 capacity and two with 
10,000 to 20,000 capacity. 
 
7. (SBU) In a debriefing of the trip with the Acting Governor 
and the Deputy-Governor, U.S. animal health officials expressed 
satisfaction with the Van Provincial Governments' response to AI 
in the province, and emphasized, despite continuing U.S. 
concerns about ensuring future bio-security, the importance of 
using Turkey's response as a model for other countries grappling 
with AI or other disease outbreaks.  U.S. human health officials 
were impressed by the timely actions taken by Turkey, including 
early stockpiling of drugs and early education of hospital staff 
even before the first case of AI was reported.  The U.S. human 
health officials assessed Turkey's disease surveillance systems 
as robust and likely to detect any future cases.  They said that 
Turkey's case management was appropriate and commendable for a 
disease that had previously never been seen; and that this was 
due to Turkey's openness and transparency in working with the 
international community.  While U.S. officials were impressed 
with Turkey's rapid system of sending samples to the lab in 
Ankara, they recommended that during sample collection greater 
care be taken to ensure that all cases are confirmed by the lab. 
 
8. (SBU) When asked how the U.S. could provide further support, 
Van provincial officials responded that the need for financial 
support in fighting AI would continue, and that they looked to 
the U.S. to assist with a worldwide information campaign to tell 
the West about Turkey's positive contributions in gaining a 
greater understanding of AI.  The provincial officials asked for 
increased U.S. diplomatic efforts in countries surrounding 
Turkey to explain Turkey's positive role in battling this global 
disease. 
 
9. (U) The AI delegation did not have the opportunity to clear 
this cable before departing Van. 
REID 

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