25 July 2005 (RFE/RL) - The head of Russia's Veterinary Monitoring Service says the bird flu virus has broken out in four rural districts of Siberia, according to preliminary evidence
Interfax quotes Sergei Dankvert as saying the initial outbreak was discovered last week in the village of Suzdalka, in the western Siberian region of Novosibirsk.
Now, cases among wild birds have been found in three more districts of Novosibirsk Oblast-- Dovolnoe, Kupino, and Chistozernoe.
Authorities in neighboring Kazakhstan have been informed as the three districts lie close to the Kazakh border.
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has so far been transmitted mainly between animals. It is carried by migratory birds. But it has killed at least 58 people in southeast Asia and China since 2003.
Experts' greatest fear is that the virus could mutate into a highly infectious strain that could be easily transmitted from animals to humans, or from humans to humans.
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