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H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Expands Into European Russia
October 19, 2005
Russia's Agricultural Ministry said the potentially fatal disease had been detected in poultry in the Russian province of Tula, west of the Ural mountains, apparently borne by wild ducks.
"Some 3000 fowl have been slaughtered in the village of Yandovka," some 300km east of Moscow, "after the discovery of bird flu in seven private farms", said Nikolai Vlasov, deputy head of the ministry's veterinary control department.
"We are practically sure that it is the same type as that diagnosed in Siberia," the H5N1 strain of bird flu that can be deadly to humans, he said.
Yesterday's announcement is the first time the agriculture ministry has confirmed the spread of bird flu west of Russia's Ural mountains.
"The infection has evidently been carried by wild ducks that recently landed on a lake in the village concerned," Mr Vlasov said.
The above comments confirm that te H5N1 wild bird flu reported in Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia over the summer has begun to move into warmer regions via migratory birds. The various outbreaks confirm the dramatic extension of the H5N1 geographical reach.
The report in Russia is the first cases west of the Urals (see European map). However, China has also announced confirmation of H5N1 in Inner Mongolia, signaling the migration of birds out of Mongolia (see world map).
Further spread is signaled by the likely detection of H5N1 in Yemen signaling birds heading for Africa. Additional reports suggest H5N1 is in Macedonia.
All of these reports today extend earlier reports of H5N1 wild bird flu in Romania and Turkey, with suspected cases in the general area. These data indicate the reach of H5N1 will be significantly expanded in the next several weeks. The reports in Europe are in areas which have never reported Asian H5N1,
In addition to signaling the spread of H5N1 in birds, reports of bird flu symptoms in five members of the same family in a Jakarta suburb (see Jakarta map) suggest H5N1 is not only becoming more efficient at transmitting and transporting in birds, but its expanded host range extends to humans.