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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 23:02 GMT
Bird flu 'causes first dog death'
Vets dispose of infected birds near the Caspian Sea
Bird flu cases have been discovered along the Caspian Sea coast
A stray dog has died of bird flu in the Caspian nation of Azerbaijan, health officials have said - thought to be the first time the virus has killed a dog.

Azerbaijan reported its first three human deaths from bird flu on Monday.

The World Health Organization has yet to confirm bird flu caused the human deaths, but said the US Navy lab that carried out the tests was reliable.

The deaths of the three young Azeri women would take the WHO total for human deaths from bird flu to 101.

There have been no confirmed cases of one person passing the virus to another. Most people who have contracted it are thought to have been in close contact with domestic poultry.

But scientists fear the virus could mutate into a form that can pass from person to person.

Germany has reported at least three cat deaths from bird flu, which has been spreading from South-East Asia since 2003.

Quarantine

The deadly H5N1 strain of the virus was discovered in migratory bird flocks in Azerbaijan last month.

The government has taken measures to quarantine the two regions where the women died, with entry and exit to their villages being controlled.

Cars were being disinfected and domestic poultry was being confined, Reuters news agency reported.

The dog that died was found in the capital Baku on 9 March, health officials said.


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