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Bird flu in Russia could have been detected earlier - scientist

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NOVOSIBIRSK, August 27 (RIA Novosti) - The bird flu epidemic in Russia could have been avoided, a senior virologist said Saturday.Deputy head of the Vektor State Scientific Center of Virology and Biotechnology Sergei Netesov said the virus had been detected later than it could have been due to a lack of financing.

"We could have detected the virus two months earlier, when the birds flew to Siberia from the south of the Asian continent. This would have allowed us to forecast the situation's development and start anti-epidemic measures earlier," he said.

Netesov said Vektor scientists had been monitoring the bird flu spread situation for more than three years. "We expected it this or next year," he said.

Migrant birds carry the virus. Birds from Southeast Asia hit by an epidemic, Netesov said, migrate via Russia's territory.

According to Russia's consumer rights and human welfare service, the bird flu virus was detected in eight Russian regions (the Altai territory, Altai, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tyumen, Kurgan, Chelyabinsk and Kalmykia).

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