No, it’s a guineafowl! Turkey raises and releases thousands of non-native guineafowl to eat ticks that carry the deadly Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus. Yet research suggests guineafowl eat few ticks, but carry the parasites on their feathers, possibly spreading the disease they were meant to stop.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever was identified as an emerging disease in Turkey in 2002. Initial symptoms include high fever, headache, back pain, joint pain, stomach pain and vomiting. Common symptoms include red eyes, a flushed face, a red throat and red spots on the palate. More severe symptoms include jaundice and mood and sensory perception changes. From about day four and for two weeks, patients have large bruised areas and serious nosebleeds. Recovery is slow; the existence of long-term complications is uncertain. Outbreaks of the viral disease have led to death rates ranging from 9 percent to 50 percent among hospitalized patients.
Between 2002 and last May, the tick-borne virus infected 6,392 people in Turkey and killed 322 of them. The virus was first identified in Crimea in 1944 and then in the Congo in 1969, and now it is found in Eastern and Southern Europe, the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, northwest China, central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever in Turkey has been attributed to several possible causes, including changes in land use and hunting practices, movement of livestock, climate change, migratory birds and fragmentation of habitat caused by a decline in agriculture and resulting increase in forest, creating habitats for both domestic and wild animals that carry ticks. See: http://goo.gl/QCfTx