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Ukraine lifts bird flu state of emergency

Emergencies / First AidDec 30, 05

President Viktor Yushchenko lifted the state of emergency in Ukraine’s Crimea as an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu in the region has been eliminated, a presidential decree said on Thursday.

Ukraine reported its first outbreak of the disease in a dozen villages on the peninsula, a major stopover point for migratory birds, in late November.

The president invoked a state of emergency in a half dozen villages and ordered a mass cull of domestic birds.

The number of villages affected by mass deaths of birds rose to about 30, but authorities have noted no new cases since mid-December.

“The document has been signed because the bird flu outbreak was eliminated and work to seize and destroy poultry in the Sovietsky, Nizhnyogirsky and Dzhankoi regions of Crimea have been completed,” said a statement on the presidential Web site http://www.president.gov.ua .

Officials have said more than 62,000 birds were destroyed.

Bird flu is endemic in poultry in parts of Asia where it has killed more than 70 people. Though hard for people to catch, experts fear it could mutate into a form that passes easily from person to person.

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