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Bird flu ebbs in Russia, Kazakhstan, may relapse

by 5m Editor
5 September 2005, at 12:00am

RUSSIA - The outbreak of the bird flu strain dangerous to humans was dying out in sprawling ex-Soviet neighbours Kazakhstan and Russia thanks to quarantine and cold weather in border regions, officials said on Friday.

Bird flu ebbs in Russia, Kazakhstan, may relapse - RUSSIA - The outbreak of the bird flu strain dangerous to humans was dying out in sprawling ex-Soviet neighbours Kazakhstan and Russia thanks to quarantine and cold weather in border regions, officials said on Friday.

But Russia's chief veterinary inspector warned the disease could surface elsewhere in the world next spring and asked the United States and Europe to help monitor the routes of migratory wild fowl that may carry the virus from Russia.

"Such a programme could give information about the spread of the virus in Europe, Asia and the Americas in 2006 and to work out measures aimed at preventing domestic poultry from being infected," Yevgeny Nepoklonov said in a letter to his counterparts abroad.

Many nations worldwide have banned imports of poultry and animal feed from Russia and Kazakhstan, which share the world's longest land border, after the virulent H5N1 strain dangerous to humans was detected and started to spread last month. "One can say with certainty that the peak of the bird flu is over in Kazakhstan now," Talgat Abulgazin, the head of Kazakhstan's Agriculture Ministry's veterinary disease monitoring department, told a news conference.

Veterinary and emergencies ministry officials in both countries said not a single human had contracted the infection.

"August, when the disease was at its peak, was the hottest month," Abulgazin said. "But right now we have a cold spell which makes the bird flu strain less virulent."

RELAPSE POSSIBLE

Russia's Federal Consumers' Rights and Welfare Service said late on Thursday bird flu of H5N1 strain had been discovered in 47 localities in six Russian Siberian and Urals regions. Of 100 localities originally under observation, 80 remain so.

A statement issued by Russia's Emergencies Ministry on Friday said no new cases of bird flu had been reported in the last 24 hours. A total of 139,000 birds had been culled to prevent the disease from spreading.

Russia's agriculture ministry said veterinaries had confirmed bird flu in another locality in the Tyumen region, already hit by the virus. Quarantine had been lifted from seven locations, a ministry statement said, without naming them.

Abulgazin of Kazakhstan's Agriculture Ministry said quarantine had been lifted in four of the seven villages close to Russia's Siberian regions where the dangerous flu strain had been detected earlier. A total of 13,438 fowl had been culled.

He said that the 10 wild ducks, gulls and other birds found dead in a nature reserve in southern Kazakhstan had actually died from a different bird disease which was not dangerous.

Source: Reuters - 5th September 2005

5m Editor