First Case Of Bird Flu Found In Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine - Bird flu was found in a northeastern Ukrainian village, emergency officials said Monday, marking the first confirmation of the virus' spread beyond the country's Black Sea regions.

The virus was confirmed in the Sumy region, which borders Russia, and emergency workers planned to destroy more than 7,000 domestic birds, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesperson Ihor Krol said.

Krol said he had no information about what strain had been found, but Ukrainian media reported that it was the H5N1 strain, which is potentially deadly for humans.

A massive outbreak of the H5N1 strain hit Ukraine in December, but the cases were confined to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and other Black Sea regions. No human cases have been recorded in Ukraine.

Krol said the current outbreak was confined to the village of Pisky, which is located some distance from neighbouring towns. He said emergency officials were taking immediate steps to keep the outbreak isolated.

Bird flu has killed at least 128 people worldwide since it started ravaging Asian poultry farms in late 2003. So far, most human cases have been linked to contact with infected birds.

Source: AP