Eleven suspected human cases of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus was found in Azerbaijan.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is investigating the scenario. Out of the 11 cases 3 people have already died. Maria Cheng, spokeswoman for the UN health agency, told that all 11 cases came from the same village near the Azerbaijani capital Baku.
Apart from the 3 fatal victims the rest of the 8 cases are from a single family. They have been hospitalized and their state is critical.
Flocks belonging to the patients had also been infected, but experts have to identify whether they are infected with the H5N1 strain or something else.
Samples from the suspected human victims are sent to a WHO-accredited laboratory in London. The results would be available in 24 hours or within two weeks.
Two boys from the eight-membered family died after they were hospitalized with suspected pneumonia.
Azerbaijani authorities said they were investigating whether the deaths of two young children in the republic were caused by bird flu.
Azerbaijani authorities had ordered the slaughter of half a million birds. The virus has infected 175 people in seven countries and killed 96 people.