- ALMATY/MOSCOW (Reuters) -
Bird flu has been officially confirmed in two more Russian regions, and
the disease may also be spreading in Northern Kazakhstan, officials said
- Health officials fear that a subtype of bird flu dangerous
to humans may mutate into a lethal strain that could rival or exceed the
Spanish flu pandemic that killed 20-40 million people worldwide at the
end of World War One.
- The presence of the highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype that
can cause disease in humans has so far only been confirmed in one Russian
region, Novosibirsk. But four other Siberian regions have been confirmed
to have some sort of bird flu virus.
- Russia's Agriculture ministry said on Friday the disease
had been confirmed in wildfowl in two locations in the Kurgan region and
in one in the Omsk region. Bird flu has already been confirmed in the Altai
and Tyumen regions.
- The ministry statement said the virus found in Kurgan
and Omsk did not appear to be highly pathogenic.
- H5N1 bird flu has killed more than 50 people in Asia
since late 2003, mostly in Vietnam. Bird flu has also led to the death
of 140 million birds at a cost running to billions of dollars.
- Russia has culled over 10,000 domestic birds in the last
few days to stop the virus spreading, the emergencies ministry said.
- The ministry said in a statement no new deaths had occurred
among wildfowl and domestic poultry on Thursday in the Altai, Tyumen and
- However, 139 birds were found dead in Novosibirsk region.
- Senior veterinary officials in neighboring Kazakhstan
have confirmed bird flu has broken out in the Pavlodar region, bordering
- Officials there said it was premature to say whether
the Pavlodar outbreak was dangerous to humans.
- But a disease with similar symptoms is already killing
birds in neighboring regions.
- Some 364 hens have died in a village in the eastern Kazakh
region, while 37 wild ducks have been found dead at the Vinogradovka lake
in the Akmola region, the Kazakh Emergencies Ministry said on its official
Web site www.emer.kz.
- It said sanitary and veterinary controls were being heightened
to contain the spread of the disease, while in Akmola 70 hens and 30 ducks
living on private farms that may have been in contact with wild ducks had
- Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited
without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable
for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance