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Vaccine Blamed In Thousands Of Uzbek, Kyrgyz Sheep Deaths

Sheep in a pen at a Kyrgyz bazaar
TASHKENT -- Authorities in Uzbekistan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan are investigating a rash of sheep deaths that they say appear to have been caused by a tainted vaccine.

Uzbek farmers and officials say thousands of sheep died in the Qashqadariyo, Samarkand, and Jizakh regions after allegedly receiving a tainted smallpox vaccine.

Meanwhile, in Kyrgyzstan, authorities in the southern region of Jalal-Abad are probing the deaths of 1,700 sheep, also following their vaccination for smallpox.

Authorities have sealed off Jalal-Abad's Suzaq and Aksy districts to try and limit the vaccine or other cause from spreading.

Kyrgyz reports said preliminary investigations suggested the vaccine was brought from Uzbekistan and distributed in the region by a local veterinarian.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Uzbek and Kyrgyz services