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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
Charges in Kazakh HIV scandal
Map of Kazakhstan showing capital Astana and Shymkent
Several Kazakh officials have been charged with criminal negligence over a blood bank scandal that has seen five children die of Aids-related illnesses.

At least 61 children have tested positive for HIV after receiving blood transfusions at a paediatric clinic near Shymkent in the country's south.

A further 12,000 children are now being screened for exposure to the virus.

Kazakhstan's health minister and the regional governor were both fired over the scandal last week.

Donors paid

The children are thought to have been infected either through unsterilised equipment or through contaminated blood.

The BBC's Stephanie Irvine said that donors are paid for their blood transfusions in Kazakhstan and local authorities are searching for a number of donors who may be HIV carriers.

The first cases emerged in July and all those infected were between two months and 10 years old.

According to the Kazakhstan Today news agency, charges have been brought against the former regional health director, two of his deputies and five doctors.

Investigations are also taking place into the forged signatures of six donors who had been paid for their blood, the agency reported.

HIV prevention officials in Shymkent told Agence France-Presse that at least 2,700 children may have come into direct contact with the virus.

HIV scandal hits Kazakh children
18 Sep 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Soviet ghosts haunt Kazakh Aids policy
27 Aug 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Kazakhstan
13 Sep 06 |  Country profiles

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