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First flu case arrives in Belgium

Published on 11/01/2006

11 January 2006

BRUSSELS – Belgium has recorded its first official flu case after a baby was diagnosed with the virus in the St Pierre hospital.

“It is much too early to say how this situation will evolve,” said the hospital’s Dr Fernande Yane after announcing traces of influenza had been found in the baby.

Medical experts predicted earlier this week that flu would not make any impact in Belgium until later this year.

The Belgian Pharmaceutical Association has, however, indicated a high demand for the anti-viral Tamiflu, used to fight influenza symptoms.

So far, only sporadic cases of influenza have been found in Europe and medical staff have been quick to point out that these have nothing to do with the bird flu scare sweeping across Turkey.

A government taskforce on epidemics, convened on Monday this week, concluded that no additional measures are currently needed in Belgium to stop an outbreak of bird flu.

So far, three people have died in Eastern Turkey from contracting the killer strain from infected chickens and many more are in hospital with symptoms of the disease.

Belgian experts say the risk to Belgium has not risen and there has been no travel ban imposed on Turkey.

[Copyright Expatica 2006]

Subject: Belgian news