Bird Flu Alarm

2005-12-03-Ukraine's president declares bird flu emergency

Understanding Avian Influenza

2005-12-03-Ukraine's president declares bird flu emergency

President Viktor Yushchenko ordered a state of emergency in parts of Ukraine's Crimea region today following confirmation of the country's first bird flu outbreak.

More than 1,600 birds have died in the region.

Yuschchenko's order affects four villages in the Black Sea peninsula region where the dead birds ? domesticated chickens and geese ? tested positive for the H5 subtype of the virus, spokeswoman Irina Gerashchenko said.

Agriculture Minister Oleksandr Baranivsky said earlier that officials had also identified a third region, but said that experts were still waiting for a diagnosis.

Authorities had already imposed a quarantine on the villages, and people in contact with the dead birds were being monitored for health problems.

The carcasses were being burned, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Ihor Krol said.

Samples would be sent to laboratories in Italy and Britain for further tests to determine whether the disease could be the deadly H5N1 strain, which is being monitored for fear it could mutate into a form that is easily transferable among humans.

Baranivsky attributed the outbreak to contact between migratory birds at the Crimea's Lake Savash and domestic birds.

He said 1,621 birds had died, and officials would being culling all birds in the area tomorrow.

Understanding Avian Influenza