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Kazakhs unsure if local bird flu threatens humans

by 5m Editor
4 August 2005, at 12:00am

KAZAKHSTAN - Kazakhstan confirmed on Thursday an outbreak of bird flu in the north of the country but said scientists needed more time to discover whether the virus was dangerous to humans.

Kazakhs unsure if local bird flu threatens humans - KAZAKHSTAN - Kazakhstan confirmed on Thursday an outbreak of bird flu in the north of the country but said scientists needed more time to discover whether the virus was dangerous to humans.

Some 400 geese died at a poultry farm in the village of Golubovka in the Pavlodar region in late July. Veterinary officials say the virus is avian influenza, but have yet to define the exact type.

"Results of the tests being carried out are due by August 10 and then it will be clear if it is dangerous to humans or not," Kasym Mukanov, deputy head of the Agriculture Ministry's veterinary department, told a news conference.

"So far we have not detected any cases of the disease transmitted to humans in this village," he said. Foreign scientists including some from Israel were assisting in testing the virus.

Across the border in Russia, a quarantine has been imposed in the Novosibirsk region after an outbreak of bird flu was found to be of the H5N1 type dangerous to humans.

Avian influenza is split into strains such as H5 and H7, which in turn have nine different sub-groups.

H5N1 is highly pathogenic and can be passed from birds to humans, although there have been no known cases of human to human transmission.

The Kazakh strain has been defined as H5 but the sub-type is not known.

In Moscow, the emergencies ministry said Russia had culled 4,884 head of domestic poultry in Siberian regions neighbouring Kazakhstan in the last few days to prevent the virus spreading.

Kazakhstan imports insignificant amounts of poultry from Russia. The United States is the main supplier of poultry, mainly chicken.

Mukanov said ta total of 2,350 geese and 450 ducks had been destroyed to contain the spread of bird flu in Kazakhstan. No outbreaks of the disease had been reported in other regions of the vast Central Asian nation.

A 20-year-old man from Golubovka in hospital with symptoms similar to those of bird flu was in fact suffering from advanced pneumonia, he said. (Additional reporting by Aleksandras Budrys in Moscow)

Source: Reuters - 4th August 2005

5m Editor