Ukraine reports avian flu; Indonesian death was H5N1

Dec 5, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Ukraine has joined the ranks of Asian and Eurasian countries reporting the H5 strain of avian influenza in poultry, according to weekend news reports, and Indonesia's eighth death from H5N1 has been confirmed.

Ukraine
Domestic chickens and geese in Crimea died suddenly Friday, Russia's Interfax news agency reported. The agency stated the number of birds at 1,500; a Bloomberg story gives the number as 2,500. The birds were in small villages on the Crimean Peninsula, which extends into the Black Sea in southern Ukraine.

Tests have identified the cause as the H5 avian flu virus, but test results on samples sent to British and Italian laboratories are needed to determine whether the culprit is the H5N1 strain that is of international concern for its potential to cause a flu pandemic.

Ukraine will use napalm to dispose of the birds' carcasses, according to a Bloomberg story. Several tons of the agent were reportedly sent to Crimea. The birds died with "lightning speed," with no signs of infection, a Crimean veterinary official told Bloomberg.

The affected villages as well as areas within 3 kilometers were placed under quarantine, and all poultry in that area were to be destroyed, Agriculture Minister Olexander Baranivsky told Agence France-Presse (AFP). Live poultry sales have been banned.

Pyotr Verbitsky, chief veterinary inspector in Ukraine, said the outbreak was near Sivash saltwater lake, along the migratory route of millions of migratory birds from Asia, according to AFP.

Indonesia
The 25-year-old woman who died late in Jakarta late last week has been confirmed by a World Health Organization (WHO)–affiliated laboratory in Hong Kong as having H5N1 avian influenza, says a Reuters report. That puts the number of deaths in Indonesia at eight, although at this writing the case has not yet been added to the WHO official numbers.

The total number of confirmed human cases of H5N1 stands at 133, and the number of deaths, including this newly confirmed fatality, stands at 69.

Romania
In other developments, Romanian officials confirmed yesterday that H5 avian flu had been confirmed in birds in Cioacile, a town in the eastern part of the country. The town is under quarantine, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua. This constitues the fourth outbreak in Romania since last Thursday. Samples from the infected birds are being sent to a laboratory in England for subtyping. Reuters reported that 8,000 birds were being culled in the area.

Vietnam
A Reuters story today says that more than 900 ducks and chickens have died in the Cao Bang province of Vietnam, about 270 kilmeters north of Hanoi, and that close to 4,000 birds there have been destroyed. The cause was identified as H5 avian flu, but the subtype was not reported. The area borders the southern Chinese province of Guangxi.

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