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State Of Emergency In Crimea After Bird-Flu Outbreak

(RFE/RL) 3 December 2005 -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko today ordered a state of emergency in parts of Crimea that have registered cases of the potentially deadly bird flu.

Agriculture Minister Oleksandr Baranivskiy told a news conference in Kyiv that 3-kilometer exclusion zones are being put up around the affected villages. He said all birds in those villages will be slaughtered.

This follows the announcement earlier today that more than 1,500 domesticated chicken and geese were found dead in two Crimean regions in recent days.

According to preliminary test results, the dead animals had the H5 virus strain of bird flu. Samples have been sent to Great Britain and Italy for further tests.

Mariya Miroshnichenko, the chief of the state veterinary service in Crimea, said the poultry died "with lightning speed," adding that the "toxicity of the virus is very high."

(news agencies)