Ukraine, Russia to Join Forces against Bird Flu

"I have spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin to coordinate our activities. I think in the near future we will establish a bilateral commission or some other structure to resolve this problem," Yushchenko said, adding that he has appealed to the European Union and the United States for help.

"Ukrainian government has taken exhaustive and full steps to localize the disease. Today, we are actively carrying out our national policy to prevent bird flu," Yushchenko said.

Ukraine and Russia have both registered outbreaks of the H5N1 bird flu virus, though neither country has recorded any instances of humans contracting the virus from poultry.

Dr. David Nabarro, UN coordinator for avian and human influenza, commended the Ukrainian government its handling of the bird-flu crisis in Crimea.

"I believe Ukraine's response can be a good example to other countries. Your speed and efficiency helped stop the spread of the virus in other parts of your country," Nabarro said.

Nabarro said the United Nations would consider ways to help Ukraine prevent the spread of the deadly disease. He also characterized plans of the Ukrainian government as "quite purposeful." Nabarro opined that Ukraine could share its experience with other regions where the problem is still acute.

"I hope we will be able to keep relying on you," he said.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Health said today deaths of poultry had been recorded in 42 villages in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and the H5 bird flu virus was confirmed by lab tests in dead fowl in 24 of the villages. No new sites of poultry deaths had been registered for the past 24 hours, the ministry reported.

Ninety-five people underwent medical examinations, and 26 were under medical observation, officials reported. There was no registered case of serious viral respiratory disease. Nor had there been any reported case of bird death caused by bird flu in any other part of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, has reported 18 confirmed human deaths from avian flu. Seven of the confirmed Indonesian fatalities have been in 2006, making Indonesia the country with the most bird flu deaths so far this year.

China's Ministry of Health said last Friday a woman had died of bird flu in the central province of Hunan, the eighth person killed by the virus in the country.

The total number of deaths from the H5N1 bird flu virus stands at 91 since it re-emerged in late 2003.


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