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Avian Flu : Preventing a Pandemic
posted by admin on 23/02/07

Russia Confirms H5N1 Bird Flu In 8 Suburban Moscow Districts

MOSCOW -- The H5N1 bird-flu strain has been confirmed in eight suburban Moscow districts, a top Russian veterinary official said Thursday, as experts enforced a quarantine in several villages and sought to keep the disease from spreading.

Nikolai Vlasov, head of agriculture oversight agency Rosselkhoznadzor, told reporters that increased awareness about bird flu had led to a rush of calls from people reporting bird deaths. There were now eight areas where H5N1 has been confirmed, three of which were recently added, he said.

See complete coverage of efforts to contain avian flu, including an interactive graphic on the science of the virus and a look back at major flu epidemics.

Russian news reports cited local officials as saying, meanwhile, that a ninth suburban district had reported poultry dying of bird flu. The report couldn't immediately be confirmed.

The virus, which began killing domestic birds in the Moscow suburbs on Feb. 9, has been traced to a single animal market just outside the capital.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said Wednesday that at least 333 domestic birds have died since Feb. 9, and an additional 1,833 have been killed at eight locations on Moscow's outskirts.

Officials have enforced a quarantine around the affected districts, spraying down vehicle tires and vaccinating poultry.

Some residents of Ramenskoye, a town southeast of the capital, said they had seen no signs of dead poultry.

No human cases of bird flu have been reported in Russia, which had its first reported cases of H5N1 in Siberia in 2005. Outbreaks have since occurred farther west, but mostly in southern areas far from the capital.

Since it began ravaging Asian poultry farms in late 2003, the H5N1 strain has killed at least 167 people world-wide, according to the World Health Organization.

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