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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 January 2006, 15:08 GMT
Belgium bird flu tests negative
Preliminary tests on a man suspected of having the lethal H5N1 bird flu virus in Belgium show he is not infected with the disease, health officials say.

The man - an unnamed TV journalist - developed flu-like symptoms after he returned from a visit to Turkey.

Doctors at St Pierre hospital in Brussels said the tests excluded H5N1 100% - the patient had a seasonal cold.

Three people have died and 18 have been infected in Turkey by the virus, first detected in poultry there last year.

A Belgian official said the man's case was treated with caution as he had been in a Turkish region hit by the virus.

The man is believed to have been reporting on the outbreak in the Van region.

Since 2003, the virus has killed almost 80 people and thousands of poultry in south-east Asia and China.

All human deaths so far are said to have been caused by contact with infected animals - but experts warn that a mutant form of the virus that transmits between humans could lead to a pandemic.


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