Ukrainian officials have confirmed that the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain has been found in more Crimean villages.

The officials say tests carried out in Russia confirm the presence of the strain in 11 different villages.  Authorities have killed more than 50,000 birds in the region, which is a major stopping point for migratory birds.  Ukrainian health authorities also are monitoring more than 500 people in the area for evidence of bird flu.

Despite the confirmation of the growing number of infected birds, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov says he wants to look into lifting the state of emergency imposed to contain the disease.  He says he believes a quarantine should be sufficient.

The H5N1 strain has killed more than 70 people in East Asia since 2003.  Scientists fear it could mutate and be passed from human to human.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.