BELGOROD REGION, January 27 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government is about to adopt a resolution on measures to prevent further outbreaks of bird flu in the country, the Russian prime minister said Friday.
During a visit to a poultry factory in the southern region of Belgorod, Mikhail Fradkov said the government was working to produce a vaccine against the H5N1 strain of bird flu and to raise public awareness of the pathogenic virus.
But in spreading information about the disease, "we are inclined not to overdramatize the situation...so that dishonest producers and exporters could not use this sensitive issue for commercial ends," Fradkov said.
Chief Russian Epidemiologist Gennady Onishchenko, who is accompanying Fradkov on the trip to Belgorod, said the draft resolution on bird flu envisaged, among other measures, the compulsory vaccination of farm poultry against the virus, especially in high-risk areas such as Siberia and the Urals, and a monitoring program in the former Soviet Union to detect new cases before they spread across the Russian border.
Onishchenko said bird flu prevention and control would feature prominently on the agenda of the G8 summit in St. Petersburg in July, a meeting to culminate Russia's presidency in the club of leading industrialized nations.
"Russia is preparing proposals [on bird flu prevention], and at this preliminary stage, it is receiving enthusiastic support from all the G8 member states," he said.
Russia registered its first H5N1 cases in fowl in Siberia last summer and saw the virus spread west of the Ural Mountains into the country's European part in October. No cases of human infection have been reported, however.