H5N1 Bird Flu
Confirmed In Siberia

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A strain of bird flu harmful to humans has been found in an outbreak of the disease in Siberia, a Russian newspaper said on Saturday, quoting official experts.
The newspaper Kommersant quoted the state veterinary service as saying laboratory experts had found the H5N1 strain in samples from the Novosibirsk region, where an outbreak of bird flu was reported last week.
Bird flu is split into strains such as H5 and H7, which in turn have nine different subtypes. H5N1 subtype is highly pathogenic and can be passed from birds to humans, although there have been no known cases of human-human transmission.
More than 50 people have died in Asia from H5N1 since late 2003, raising fears it could mutate and form the basis of a new global epidemic.
Officials were not immediately available for comment. There have been no reports about people contracting bird flu.
Itar-Tass news agency quoted the deputy regional governor as saying the situation was under control after a quarantine had been imposed in four districts of the Novosibirsk region where about 1,300 farm birds had died.
"The growth of the number of dead farm birds in the Novosibirsk region has practically stopped," Alexei Bespalikov said.
Russian officials initially said the outbreak - first detected on July 18 - has been caused by H5N2 strain, which does not affect humans.
Russia's top epidemiologist, Gennady Onishchenko, has said migratory birds, possibly from Southeast Asia, could have brought the flu with them when they arrived for the summer.
Itar-Tass news agency said the quarantine had been imposed in four districts of Novosibirsk region affected by bird flu.
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