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H5N1 Bird Flu Spreads to Tomsk Region In Russia

Recombinomics Commentary

August 3, 2005

Onishchenko, who also heads Rospotrebnadzor, the federal service for the Protection of Consumer Rights and Human Welfare, chaired a conference with veterinary authorities from the Tomsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk, and Tyumen regions and the Altai territory.

"It's in these districts that confirmed or unconfirmed deaths of poultry were reported," Onishchenko said, adding that he had invited his colleague from Kazakhstan to take part in the conference, after reports of bird flu cases in that country.

"We'll be discussing our further preventive measures. Local laboratories will be supplied with necessary equipment shortly, to be able to run tests on their own, without having to send samples for analysis to Moscow," he added.

The above comments add the Tomsk region to the list of regions or territories in Russia with confirmed or unconfirmed deaths of poultry.  Tomsk is north of Novosibirsk and the first region listed that does not border Kazakhstan.  It is north of Chany Lake, which is ringed with towns and villages reporting outbreaks.  In the past, H5 has been detected in birds at Chany Lake. However, the prior H5 isolates were closely related to H5 from Europe, while the latest bird flu outbreaks were caused by H5s from Asia.

In addition to the five regions listed above, Russian media reports have cired addition bird die offs in Altaskiv Kray, which lies between Altai and Novosibirsk.  There are also reports of dying birds in Kurgan, which is west of Tyumen.  This there are six contiguous regions along Russia's southern border (shared with Kazakhstan), that have reported outbreaks.  The addition of Tomsk creates a wider path from China to Europe along Russia's southern border.

In Kazahkstan, only deaths in Pavlador's Irtysh District have been reported in the media and OIE.  However, it seems likely that there are deaths in all of Kazakhstan's northern regions, which would include East Kazakhstan, North Kazahkstan, Qostany, and possibly Aqmola, which is just south of North Kazakhstan.

The poultry outbreaks define a wide path that is expanding west and has reached the Ural Mountains, indicating H5N1 will soon be in European Russia.

In Europe, the migratory paths turn south in the fall, and lead to the Caspian and Black Sea areas.

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