Tests confirm H5N1 bird flu strain in Moscow

Tests have confirmed the presence of the H5N1 bird flu strain in poultry found dead in two suburban Moscow districts, an agriculture official said, in the first such outbreak to be recorded so close to the Russian capital. Alexei Alexeyenko, a spokesman for the federal agricultural oversight agency Rosselkhoznadzor, told The Associated Press on Saturday that laboratory results showed the strain of the virus in the Odintsovo and Domodedovo districts, west and south of Moscow respectively, where two dozen birds died this week. He said officials were still awaiting results on tests taken in a third suburban district, Podolsk, where 44 birds were reported to have died on Saturday. Earlier, Nikolai Vlasov, a Rosselkhoznadzor veterinary official, said in televised comments that two dozen birds in total on Friday had been reported dead in the two districts. He said officials had begun taking worst-case precautionary measures ahead of the test results.