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Deadly Bird Flu Virus Reaches European Russia


Russian health officials have confirmed the deadly bird flu virus in a village south of Moscow, the first time the virus has been reported in the European part of Russia. The virus has apparently been spread by migratory birds from regions in Siberia.

Officials have declared a quarantine around the village of Yandovka in a region south of Moscow where over 200 domesticated birds have died on several poultry farms.

Tests show the virus is the deadly strain known as H5N1 that originated in Southeast Asia.

Authorities have ordered that all poultry on the seven affected farms be killed, and have set up a quarantine around the village.

Gennady Onishenko, the Chief Sanitary Inspector in Russia, says all livestock in the area will be destroyed in the next 24 hours, and that disinfecting measures are being taken.

He says that vaccinations against standard human flu are also being administered to people throughout the region of Tula where the outbreak occurred. Tula is located just to the south of Moscow.

Scientists say injections may help prevent the bird flu from forming a hybrid strain with the standard flu that could be much more dangerous.

Bird flu was first reported in six districts of Siberia in July, but this is the first time the virus has reached the area of Russia west of the Ural Mountains.

Officials say the virus is being carried by wild ducks or other waterfowl as they migrate to the west and south.

So far there have been no human casualties reported in Russia from the virus, which has killed scores of people in southeast Asia.

However scientists say it might mutate into a more transmittable strain that could result in a widespread pandemic around the world.