Bird Flu Spreads
To Mongolia
By Raushan Nurshayeva and
Maria Golovnina
(Reuters) -- A bird flu outbreak has expanded in Siberia and spread to Mongolia on Wednesday, and Kazakhstan confirmed a fowl virus found in the Central Asian state could kill humans.
Officials said no people had been infected so far, but the highly potent H5N1 strain has killed more than 50 people in Asia since 2003. Outbreaks in the former Soviet bloc raised fears the virus could infect humans and trigger a global epidemic.
In the Novosibirsk region, officials found the virus in another village, Novorozino, taking the total number of infected areas there to 14, Interfax reported.
"Domestic birds in that village will be ... killed," a regional administration official said, Interfax reported.
About 35,000 birds have been killed in the Novosibirsk region to prevent the deadly virus from spreading further.
The total number of bird deaths since the epidemic hit Siberia in mid-July rose to 8,347 on Wednesday, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. The number on Tuesday was just over 5,580.
"There have been no cases of people getting ill," the ministry said in a statement.
In Kazakhstan, which shares a long border with Siberia, the Agriculture Ministry confirmed that the virus found in birds was the deadly H5N1 strain.
The ministry, which reported an outbreak of avian flu on Aug. 4, said a quarantine was in place in the affected area near the village of Golubovka in northern Kazakhstan's Pavlodar region.
In Mongolia, which also shares a border with Russia, nearly 80 migratory birds have died from bird flu, the first time the disease has been reported in the country, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said.
Russian's Emergency Situations Ministry said most bird deaths on Tuesday and Wednesday occurred in the Omsk and Kurgan regions on the Kazakh border.
Other affected regions include Altai and Tyumen.
Kazakhstan sought to play down fears of a growing problem. "The epizootic situation in poultry farms is safe," the Agriculture Ministry said. "As of Aug. 9, there have been no reports of new outbreaks of the disease among poultry or wildfowl in the country."



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