H5N1 outbreaks confirmed near Moscow

Feb 19, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Russian officials today confirmed that suspicious bird deaths in three towns on the outskirts of Moscow were caused by highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza.

The H5N1 outbreak killed 34 backyard poultry, including chickens, ducks, geese, turkey, and pigeons, Russian officials wrote in a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The affected communities include Babenki, Pavlovskoye, and Shihovo. The Times of London reported today that some of the outbreak sites are within 30 miles of Moscow.

A Moscow live-bird market named Sadovod is suspected as a source of the outbreak, because birds from the market were introduced into the backyard flocks, the OIE report said. Authorities closed and quarantined the market Feb 17, the Associated Press reported.

Authorities destroyed 196 birds and have quarantined the outbreak areas, the OIE report said. Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said more than 94 million birds had received an avian flu vaccine in 2006, The Times reported.

Health officials are monitoring 5,453 residents near the outbreak areas, including 20 who had contact with the infected birds, Gennady Onischchenko, Russia’s chief epidemiologist, told The Times today. No human H5N1 cases have been reported in Russia.

The H5N1 outbreaks are the first ever confirmed near Moscow but not the first in Russia this year. In late January, officials confirmed three backyard poultry outbreaks in the Krasnodar region, in southwestern Russia near the Black Sea.

In other avian flu news, the World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed Egypt’s latest case, in a 5-year-old boy from Sharkia governorate, 60 miles northeast of Cairo. Egyptian officials reported his case Feb 16. He was admitted to the hospital Feb 14 and is in stable condition, the WHO said. He is Egypt’s 22nd WHO-confirmed case-patient.

The boy was exposed to sick birds a week before he got sick, the WHO said. His contacts were described as healthy and under close observation.

See also:

OIE reports on Russian outbreak
http://www.oie.int/downld/AVIAN%20INFLUENZA/A2007_AI.php

Feb 10 WHO statement
http://www.who.int/csr/don/2007_02_19/en/index.html

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