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H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Infected Species in Russia

Recombinomics Commentary

October 16, 2005

On 22 July 2005 the first AI outbreak was identified in a backyard flock at
Suzdalka in the Novosibirsk region. The Competent Veterinary Authorities (CVA) the mission team that from the 22 July up to 07 October 2005, 50 AI outbreaks detected in six Siberian regions : Novosibirsk, Altai, Chelyabinsk, Kurgan,Tiumen. In Kalmikya region, which is located in the European Russia northwest Caspian Sea, the presence of AI was suspected, but no final results are Nevertheless, a few positive PCR results for AI viruses of the H5 subtype were from wild birds monitored in two unaffected regions (Tomsk and Kalmikya).

The above comments from the mission team investigating H5N1 in Russia indicate that H5 was PCR confirmed in Tomsk and Kalmikya.  Kalmikya is adjacent to the Caspian Sea (see map), indicating H5 has been in Europe for some time.

The report also indicated that the screening was not comprehensive, and H5N1 may have been in additional provinces where screening was minimal.

Moreover, the report listed H5N1 positive birds identified by hunters.  The positives included wild duck, laughing gull, rook, northern stover, crow, pigeon, sandpiper, oyster catcher, little grebe. black-winged stilt, phalatrope, little tern, pied wagtail, green sandpiper, white headed plover, starling, coot, mallard sparrow hawk, buzzard, turtle dove, garganey. teal.

The above list indicates H5N1 was widespread in wild birds and was readily transferred between species.  These data indicate that H5N1 is likely to appear in southern and western Europe in the upcoming weeks.

H5N1 clearly is not dying out, but rather is expanding its geographical reach as well as its host range.

H5N1 is on track to go global in the next 12 months.


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