Ukraine's bird flu outbreak expands to 12 Crimean villages
Updated: 2005-12-13 15:50
The outbreak of bird flu in Ukraine has expanded to at least 12 villages on
the Crimean peninsula, the country's top emergency official said Monday, while
nine other places have reported mass bird deaths.
"Today we have bird flu in 12 locations," Emergency Situations Minister
Viktor Baloga told journalists after returning from the Black Sea peninsula,
where officials have been working to stem the outbreak since it was first
recorded in six villages on December 4.
Four new locations recorded mass bird deaths, the Health Ministry said
Monday, bringing the total to 19 villages and two cities. Tests for bird flu are
Among the areas still being monitored were the regional capital, Simferopol,
and another city, Feodosiya. It was not immediately clear how many birds had
Ukraine announced its first case of bird flu on December 4, revealing that
some 2,500 domestic fowl had died suddenly in a marsh area near the Azov Sea.
Some 37,405 domestic fowl have been slaughtered as part of a mandatory cull.
More than 11,000 people have been vaccinated against flu in the affected
villages, government official said, and World Health Organization experts
arrived to examine the situation and to assist in efforts to stop the
On Friday, a Russian laboratory said it had confirmed the virus was the same
strain that decimated flocks in Asia, but Ukrainian officials said they were
waiting for findings from a British laboratory, due this week.
Experts fear the H5N1 strain of bird flu could trigger a human flu pandemic
if it mutates into a form that is easily spread between people. Since 2003, the
virus has killed at least 69 people in Asia _ most of them farm workers who came
into close contact with infected birds.
No cases of human infection have been recorded in Ukraine, officials said.
Medical examinations have been conducted on 61,778 people.
President Viktor Yushchenko has imposed a state of emergency and quarantine
in three Crimean regions.