Russia's avian flu containment effort expands

Aug 17, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Russian workers were slaughtering thousands of birds today in an effort to contain avian influenza, while another possible outbreak was reported to the south in Kazakhstan.

Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said that more than 13,000 birds have died of avian flu and another 112,000 have been killed in the containment effort, according to an Associated Press (AP) report. The story said veterinary workers were burning thousands of slaughtered birds today.

In Kazakhstan, more than 120 birds died of suspected avian flu in the village of Talapker in the north-central part of the country, but it was not known if it was the H5N1 strain, according to a Reuters report today.

Kazinform, a Kazakh online news service, said the village is in the Yesil area, which lies several hundred miles west of the Pavlodar area, where the country's other recent outbreaks occurred. Kazakhstan borders southwestern Siberia, where Russia's outbreaks have been reported.

Other reports today said an avian flu outbreak was initially suspected in the southern Russian region of Kalmykia, near the Caspian Sea, about 1,200 miles from the Siberian province of Novosibirsk, where Russia's first outbreak surfaced. But the AP story, quoting the ITAR-Tass news agency, said the bird deaths in Kalmykia had been caused by a parasitic worm.

According to the AP, a Russian emergency official, Sergei Vlasov, blamed the Russian outbreaks on mallard and pochard ducks that migrate to Russia from Southeast Asia. The Novosibirsk outbreak was discovered in late July, and outbreaks in five other areas of southwestern Siberia and along the southeastern fringe of the Ural Mountains followed.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese officials have called for an acceleration of their nationwide effort to vaccinate poultry against avian flu, according to an Agence France-Presse report published today.

The story said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung called on the committee in charge of the vaccination campaign to begin widespread immunizations in September so that the effort can be finished in November at the latest.

Vietnam launched a pilot vaccination program in two provinces on Jul 30 and Aug 4. Earlier plans called for launching nationwide vaccinations in October, but the government has decided to move the start to September, according to the story.

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