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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 January 2006, 21:37 GMT
French bird flu case is negative
Turkey bird flu collections
H5N1 has killed about 80 people - mostly in Asia - since late 2003
A French woman tested for bird flu in a southern French hospital after returning from Turkey does not have the disease, the health ministry has said.

Two rounds of tests were carried out on Sunday to rule out the presence of the deadly H5N1 virus, it said.

The woman had spent two weeks in Turkey, but in a region not known to have been affected, a spokesman said.

Bird flu has hit 26 Turkish provinces. At least four people have died from the H5N1 strain of the disease.

Pandemic fears

The woman, 32, was hospitalised in Montpellier on Saturday.

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Last week a Belgian cameraman who had returned from eastern Turkey with flu-like symptoms tested negative for the virus.

The H5N1 strain of the virus has killed about 80 people - mostly in Asia - since late 2003.

The woman went to hospital on Saturday following a stay in the Tarsus region of Turkey, where she had been travelling alone.

Her case was treated as potential bird flu because of the "symptoms and because the woman saw dead birds while travelling in a country affected by the epidemic," the ministry said earlier.

Victims contract the virus through close contact with sick birds, but experts fear the virus could mutate into a form that passes easily between humans, possibly sparking a pandemic.


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