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New Bird-Flu Cases Reported In U.K., Croatia, Russia

Geese in the Tula region after bird flu was detected in the nearby village of Yandovka (AFP) 22 October 2005 -- Russian officials are reporting a new outbreak of bird flu, the second suspected new outbreak in that country in the past week, while authorities in Britain and Croatia have confirmed those countries' first cases of bird flu.

Interfax news agency quoted emergency officials in Russia as saying avian influenza has been detected in the south Urals region of Chelyabinsk. The report said 31 birds have died in the village of Sunaly, and in six cases the diagnosis of bird flu was confirmed.

It was not immediately clear if the virus that has been detected in Russia is the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has been blamed for the deaths of more than 60 people in Asia since 2003.

Earlier this week, H5N1 was detected in birds in Russia's Tula region, west of the Urals.

The same strain has also been detected this month in Romania and Turkey.

Possible Vaccine

Meanwhile, Hungarian Health Minister Jena Racz claimed yesterday his country has successfully tested a vaccine against bird flu on humans.

Racz called the vaccine is "100 percent effective." He said the governments of Britain, Russia, and the United States have expressed interest in the vaccine.

British, Croatian Cases

In both the British and Croatian cases, it is not yet clear whether the birds affected had the H5N1 strain of avian influenza.

The European Union said it was preparing to ban imports of poultry from Croatia after the bird flu virus was found in wild swans that died at a pond near Orahovica.

British officials said yesterday bird flu had been detected in a parrot that died while in quarantine. The parrot had been imported from Suriname in South America.

The European Union said Britain will retain its bird-flu "disease-free status" because the parrot had been quarantined and Britain had destroyed it and other birds that were with it.

(compiled from wire reports)

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