Sunday, July 31, 2005

Bird flu: next stop Europe?

Interfax News Agency reports that a 20 year old male has been hospitalized in Kazakhstan's Pavlodar region with symptoms of bird flu and "double pneumonia" and is in intensive care. Kazakhstan borders the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China where a die off of birds from influenza H5N1 was reported several weeks ago. The man is a poultry worker in the village of Golubovka, where Interfax also reports 600 domestic geese died between July 20 and July 30.
The first deaths of birds in Golubovka were registered a week ago, Yersain Aitzhanov, chief of the Irtysh district's emergency situations department, told Interfax. A quarantine order has been imposed in the village. "All necessary measures are being taken: the territory is being ploughed, additional fences have been built around the farm and a ban has been introduced on the delivery of poultry products and eggs from the village," Aitzhanov said.
Kazakhstan, while still in Asia, is on the doorstep of Europe. It has borders with Russia and many other Central Asian countries and borders the Caspian Sea. Infected birds are already reported in Novosibirsk in Russia. This is a reminder, if one were needed, that human risk travels with infected birds and infected birds are on the wing all over Asia and headed outward.

Next top Europe?