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H5 Wild Bird Flu Confirmed in Flying Duck in Altai Republic
August 24, 2005
The government of the Altai Republic said samples taken from the bird shot on Aug. 13 indicated the presence of bird flu virus "of the fifth type".
The above comment strongly suggests that the influenza A detected in the wild duck shot down in the Altai Republic is H5N1. Although other H5 sero-types have been isolated in Siberia in the past, the recent isolates from Russia, Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia have all been closely related H5N1 wild bird flu. All of the areas with H5N1 share a border with the Altai Republic (see map), further suggesting that the H5 is H5N1.
Finding H5N1 to the southeast of the main cluster of reported isolates may indicate the migration to the south may have begun. H5N1 in migrating birds adds additional evidence in support of migratory bird spread of H5N1.
The latest OIE report from Russia noted that birds from northern Siberia migrate to southern Siberia around August 20 and the birds in southern Siberia begin to migrate toward warmer regions in September.
The mass migrations which begin soon may reduce H5N1 reports in Russia, but may sharply increase H5N1 reports in the warmer locations that support wintering of the migratory birds.