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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July, 2005, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
Siberian bird flu alarms Russia
The Siberian strain is not the same as the lethal Asian virus
Bird flu has hit poultry in a Siberian village, in Russia's first case of the disease for more than 15 years.

More than 300 birds have died in Suzdalka, in the Novosibirsk region, and transportation of poultry to and from the village is now banned.

An epidemiologist in the region said no humans had contracted the disease, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

The strain of the virus involved is not the H5N1 type, which has killed more than 50 people in Asia.

There are fears of a global pandemic stemming from the H5N1 type, if it mutates into a form which could spread easily from human to human.

Most of those who have died in Asia are believed to have contracted the virus directly from birds.

A spokesman for the Russian emergencies ministry, Viktor Beltsov, said the virus type detected in Suzdalka, in Dovolenskiy district, was AH5. He did not give further details about it.

The virus has killed about 200 geese and 100 chickens, Russian officials told the website.

A team of vets and virologists has gone there to investigate.

Russia does not export poultry - it suffers a shortfall and has to import more than a million tonnes annually, mainly from the US, the EU and Brazil.

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