Bird slaughter in Russia attempts to contain avian flu

Aug 2, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Mass culling of domestic poultry in 13 villages in the Novosibirsk province of Russia is reportedly being carried out today. In addition, thousands of area families are being checked daily for illness, and farmers have been ordered to wear protective garments in an effort to contain the avian influenza outbreak there.

Valery Mikheyev, chief public health officer in the province, announced today's plans, following up by saying that there was "no cause for alarm" and that "up to 6,000 people are being checked per day," according to Russian news agency Itar-Tass.

Novosibirsk officials met yesterday with Governor Viktor Tolokonsky to determine actions to take to contain the outbreak, says a story in the Moscow Times. That report says poultry farm workers there were told to wear protective clothing and undergo disinfection procedures.

Local government officials in Novobirsk have said that the farmers affected will be reimbursed for their animals; the equivalent of $315,000 has been set aside for that purpose.

Other nearby regions have been affected as well. Varous news services have reported in the past day that more than 300 domestic poultry have died in Altai and that the veterinary service confirmed H5N1 avian flu as the cause.

In the Omsk region, more than 450 poultry have died, but the cause remains to be determined, according to the Moscow Times story.

The Pavlodar province of neighboring Kazakhstan reported today to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that 2,350 geese and 450 ducks had been destroyed after the death of 400 poultry there.

The H5N1 virus in these parts of Siberia is presumed to have brought by birds migrating from areas of Southeast Asia. No human cases of H5N1 flu have been reported in Russia or Kazakhstan, but the situation is being watched carefully by international health groups. The disease has officially caused 109 human cases, including 55 deaths, in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia.

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