Russian Reports First
High-Path H5N1 Of Year

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

(Reuters) -- Russia has recorded its 1st cases this year of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu in dead domestic birds, the country's animal and plant health agency said on Monday [29 Jan 2007].
Rosselkhoznadzor [The Russian agriculture inspection agency. - Mod.AS] said in a statement the virus was detected in dead birds found in 3 domestic yards in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia.
"Yes, it's H5N1," a spokesman for the agency said, when asked to confirm the strain of the virus.
Rosselkhoznadzor said measures were being taken to prevent the spread of infection in the 3 settlements where cases were found -- Labinsk, Upornaya and Borodinskaya.
The agency said tests had been carried out in regional laboratories and further tests would now be conducted in Moscow.
Russia recorded more than 90 cases of bird flu last year. Most were in southern regions, particularly the North Caucasus area that borders Georgia and Azerbaijan. Several cases were also found in the Siberian regions of Novosibirsk and Omsk.
The outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza began in Asia in 2003 and outbreaks have been confirmed in about 50 countries and territories.
Bird flu has killed 164 people from a total 270 cases recorded in humans since 2003, World Health Organisation data shows. At least 200 million birds have been culled worldwide.
No human cases have ever been recorded in Russia. Five people have died from 8 cases in neighbouring Azerbaijan.
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
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