The Turkish government has rejected local media reports that a mass cull of chickens is responsible for an increase in deadly ticks that have killed at least 11 people this year.
More than 2 million poultry were culled after four children died of avian flu in eastern Turkey in January, the first human fatalities outside east Asia.
Zoologists reported in newspaper articles that the culling of the chickens, (which eat ticks, keeping their numbers low) caused a rise in the number of ticks.
“The number of poultry culled in the provinces (where tick-borne viral fever has been identified) is around 70,000. This is not a number that can affect the tick population,” the Turkish government said in a statement.
“There is no relation between lowering the poultry population and an increase in the tick population,” it said.
A tick-borne viral fever has killed at least 11 people in Turkey this year, creating media talk of a possible epidemic in Turkey. The government called for calm but asked farmers and others in the countryside to take protective measures.
Crimea-Congo hemorrhagic fever has so far been identified in 22 provinces in Turkey, mostly in central Anatolia.