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Friday, February 10, 2006

H5N1 Bird Flu Confirmed In Azerbaijan


The Health Ministry said on Friday that a British laboratory has confirmed the presence of the H5N1 strain of avian flu in dead birds from Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea coast.
The first case of mass deaths among birds was registered in the autumn in the Nakhichivan region, bordering Turkey. More deaths occurred in December and January, but health authorities insisted that the birds had not been infected with avian flu and said there was no cause for concern.
According to local media, within just two to four days at the beginning of this month, the carcasses of thousands of dead migratory birds were found floating along the sea coast near the northern Khachmas and Devechi districts.

Mass bird deaths have also been registered in southern and western districts. The dead birds include crows and swans.
This is not a surprise, but it indicates how incredibly underreported the virus has been. Since it's generally difficult to distinguish one flu virus in humans from another, WHO's list of human cases can't be considered reliable.

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