Thursday, December 22, 2005

News - Russia free of bird flu: minister

Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said on Thursday the country has been cleared of bird flu cases in fowl.

"No industrial facilities or private households have bird flu at the present moment," Gordeyev told a press conference, quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency.

But Russian experts do not rule out a comeback of the virus in spring, when migratory birds return.

Six Russian regions were affected by the disease since its outbreak in July, according to the Emergency Situations Ministry.

As of early November, 4,500 domestic birds died of bird flu and another 180,000 were culled to prevent the virus from spreading. No bird flu cases have been registered among humans.

Gordeyev said compensation for destroyed fowl was solved at the regional level and did not affect the federal budget.

The bird flu virus, strains of which can spread to humans and can be fatal, has claimed the lives of more than 70 people in Southeast Asia since 2003.

People's Daily Online -- Russia free of bird flu: minister

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