The deaths of up to 150 domestic birds in a village in the southern Russian region of Rostov are not tied with bird flu, the Interfax news agency reported Friday, citing the regional department of the Emergency Situations Ministry.
The birds, mostly ducks and geese, that took ill in the village of Kolundayevsky, about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) south of Moscow, fell victim to a liver illness, Interfax said. But blood samples from the dead birds are under examination, it said.
Veterinary officials this week have culled about 3,000 domestic birds in the village of Yandovka, about 350 kilometers (200 miles) south of Moscow, after confirming that poultry there had been infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Further tests are needed to confirm the finding and determine whether it is the same H5N1 strain that has devastated flocks in Asia since 2003. If so, it would mark the first appearance of the virus in European Russia, west of the Ural Mountains.
Global health experts are keeping a close eye on H5N1, fearing it could mutate and trigger a pandemic. Scientists also are working on creating an H5N1 vaccine for humans.
The Asian H5N1 strain was detected in Siberia in July. H5N1 has killed some 60 people in Asia, most of them poultry farmers directly infected by birds, reports the AP
Photo: the AP P.T.