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H5N1 Bird Flu Confirmed in Kazakhstan

Recombinomics Commentary

August 10, 2005

" High pathogenic avian influenza Type A with the antigenic variant of H5N1 was discovered in pathological material and blood serum taken from wildfowl and poultry brought from the Nan farm in Yertis District of Pavlodar Region," a Kazakh Agriculture Ministry press release circulated today says.

Quarantine has also been introduced in the village of Vinogradovka in Akkol District in (northern) Aqmola Region, where a mass death of fowl was reported. A total of 345 fowl have been eliminated there.

The first deputy health minister and the country's chief epidemiological doctor, Anatoliy Belonog, did not rule out the possibility of people contracting bird flu.

The above comments confirm the updated OIE report that indicated 38 of 39 birds tested were antibody positive and 20% of organs tested were positive for virus.  Based on the migratory bird link, the death of geese, the location of the outbreak, and the timing of the outbreak, it was clear that the Pavlodar outbreak was going to be H5N1 positive and the virus would be related to the H5N1 in Novosibirsk, which appears to be closely related to the H5N1 from Qinghai Lake.

Similar results are expected from Mongolia as the birds summering in Qinghai China and southern Siberia begin to migrate toward warmer areas as the weather turns cold in the northern regions.

The reporting of HPAI H5N1 in Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia are firsts for all three countries and signal the spread to H5N1 to new regions of Asia.  In Mongolia, dead birds have been found in central and southern locations, signaling the re-entry of the H5N1 into northern and eastern China and beyond.  Similarly, the western migration along the southern border of Russia and the northern border of Kazakhstan, signals H5N1 movement toward Europe in the fall, and points south in the winter.

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