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Bird Flu Detected in Ukraine


Officials in Ukraine say they have detected several cases of bird flu in both domesticated and wild birds. Tests are now being conducted to determine if it is virus is the deadly strain that has killed almost 70 people in Asia, where it originated.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has declared a state of emergency in some parts of the Crimean peninsula, after more than one-thousand wild and domesticated birds were found dead.

A quarantine has been established around affected areas in an attempt to contain the outbreak.

Health officials have confirmed the presence of bird flu virus in different parts of Crimea, a peninsula that juts out into the Black Sea.

Chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks were among the birds found dead over the past three days. Officials ordered the slaughter of all poultry in five affected villages.

Laboratory tests are now being conducted to determine if the virus is the deadly H5N1 strain.

Maria Miroshichenko is the head veterinarian in the Crimean region. She says measures are being taken after the virus was detected, including the use of disinfectant in affected places, and medical tests on people who had contact with poultry. She adds that the birds died quickly, an indication the virus is highly toxic.

The sale of live poultry has been banned throughout Crimea, which is a popular beach destination in summer.

Several cases of bird flu have already occurred in neighboring Russia since last summer, including in central Siberia and the Ural Mountain region.

This is the first time it has been detected in Ukraine. However experts have long warned that the virus could be carried by migratory birds as they head south for the winter.