Russian bird flu threatens European region

The outbreak of bird flu in Siberia can spread to widely populated European part of Russia and there is a probability of its strain to Europe with migrating birds.

More than 50 people have already died in Asian Siberia.

The Ministry issued a statement saying that the autumnal migration of birds from Siberia to the Caspian and Black Sea regions could increase the risk of new outbreaks, Reuters reports. "Human infection, especially among workers at poultry farms, cannot be ruled out," the statement warned.

“In autumn, some wild birds migrate from the northern part of Siberia to the Caspian and Black Sea regions,” the Emergencies Ministry was quoted as saying by Times Online.

“Risks of outbreaks in the industrial poultry-breeding sector therefore increase and losses in zones of infection may be as high as 100 per cent.” He added: “Human infection, especially among workers at poultry farms, cannot be ruled out.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture said no cases of the H5N1 strain have been identified in the Siberian region of Omsk, but cases have been confirmed in Novosibirsk, Altai and Tyumen. It added that all poultry farms in Russia have taken steps to protect themselves from infection.

In the Novosibirsk region, where the virus has claimed nearly 3,000 head of domestic poultry, farmers have already begun slaughtering birds - a program that could last for at least a week, or even for 10 days.

A local government spokesman told Reuters: "Slaughtered poultry from 68 households was put in plastic bags together with disinfectant and incinerated in specially prepared pits located at a distance from settlements."

Russian health officials began slaughtering some 65,000 birds this week in the 13 areas where the virus was found.

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