The Moscow region's first outbreak of the lethal H5N1 strain of avian influenza has probably spread to at least two more locations, the Agriculture Ministry said.
Bird flu has been confirmed in five locations in the region and another two „are suspected,” Nikolai Vlasov, the Russian ministry's chief veterinary inspector, told reporters in Moscow today. It will take 24 hours to know for sure, he said. Specialists are trying to determine the origin of the virus, which is similar to variants found in Iran and Azerbaijan, Vlasov said. „People shouldn't be afraid. It's under the control of the veterinary services.”
The virus has killed at least 150 chickens near Moscow since it arrived earlier this month, Russia's second outbreak of the pathogen this year, the Emergency Ministry said yesterday. The H5N1 strain killed birds in three villages in the southern Krasnodar region last month. To date, no human fatalities have been recorded in Russia. Worldwide, a total of 167 people have died from the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, mostly in Asia, since December 2003 through February 16, 2007, according to the Geneva-based World Health Organization. (Bloomberg)