Eroğlu stated that the ministry will release 60,000 game birds, including pheasants, guinea fowl and partridges, because these birds are effective in fighting ticks, which claim many lives in the country every year. A total of 279,355 game birds were released into the wild between 2001 and 2011, while 55,000 of these were released in 2011, Eroğlu noted.
Eroğlu stressed the importance of waging biological warfare against the virulent tick population, saying, “Biological control of ticks with natural agents is more effective in wiping out ticks than chemicals like pesticides that are harmful to the environment.”
Meanwhile, a scientific team funded by the Ministry of Health and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) has developed a vaccine against the deadly CCHF.
Aykut Özdarendeli, who heads the scientific team and is an instructor at Erciyes University’s Faculty of Medicine, said they successfully tested the vaccine on mice and are preparing to test it on humans as soon as the team gets positive results from toxicity tests. Three doses of the vaccine given to the mice resulted in an 80 percent protection rate, Özdarendeli said, adding that studies to develop a vaccine began in 2005.
The CCHF has claimed nine lives in Turkey over the past three weeks. The disease, which has a mortality rate of about 30 percent, causes hemorrhaging, high fever, muscle pain and vomiting. It mainly affects farm and slaughterhouse workers in the countryside in the Central Anatolia and Black Sea regions. The disease is normally transmitted through bites from infected ticks or via direct contact with infected blood and tissue in livestock.