Russia to close borders with Turkey over bird flu epidemic

Russian Surgeon General recommends not to plan any holidays in Turkey

Russia may close borders with Turkey in connection with the outbreak of the bird flu epidemic in the country. The viral disease, which poses a lethal danger to humans, has crossed the borders of Southeast Asia for the first time since its emergence in 1997. Russia's Surgeon General Gennady Onishchenko stated in one of his recent interviews that there was no need to take such a serious measure at the moment. However, the official added, Russian authorities will be forced to act accordingly if the situation in Turkey continues to aggravate. avian flu

A sudden outbreak of the bird flu epidemic has led to a national catastrophe in Turkey. Twenty-five people have been hospitalized the province of Agri which borders on Armenia and Iran. Three of the hospitalized individuals have already deceased. The World Health Organization sent a group of experts to Turkey to study the state of affairs in the country and provide adequate assistance to Turkish authorities and doctors.

The analysis of blood samples taken from two Turkish children and one adult individual showed that the three people had been infected with the deadly H5N1 virus which originally appeared in Southeast Asia.

The current events in Turkey cannot but raise serious for Russian authorities. Turkey is one of Russia's neighbouring states, the resorts of which enjoy immense popularity with Russian holiday-makers all the year round. The Surgeon General of Russia recommended Russian vacationers not to plan any trips to Turkey for the time being. Many Russian tourists visit the province of Agri, where the bird flu epidemic occurred, to see the Biblical Ararat.

The press secretary of the Russian Tourist Industry Union, Irina Tyurina, said that Turkey was not posing risks to Russian tourists despite the above-mentioned remarks from the Surgeon General.

In the meantime, Iran has already closed borders with Turkey in connection with the outbreak of the avian flu virus in the country.

Medical services of Russian airports have been ordered to toughen security control over the passengers arriving from Turkey. Medical specialists will have to pay attention to those having symptoms of flu (fever, coughing, etc).

A senior spokesman for the Russian Medical Academy, the department of Microbiology and Immunology, Anatoly Vorobyov, has recently stated that Russian scientists started the tests of a new bird flu vaccine. The vaccine has been developed by the Russian Flu Institute, the scientist said. According to the academician, the vaccine will be used to treat bird flu-infected individuals only if it proves to be efficient after all necessary tests.

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Author`s name Olga Savka