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    Agriculture ministry confirms bird flu at southern Russian farm

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    MOSCOW, February 28 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Agriculture Ministry confirmed Tuesday that a poultry farm in southern Russia had been hit by an outbreak of bird flu.

    The Tbilisi poultry farm in the Russia's Krasnodar Territory came under suspicion of bird flu infection on Sunday, and laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the virus Tuesday.

    About one-third of the 300,000 chickens have died at the farm.

    The bird flu virus has also been detected in wild birds, including migratory birds, in Russia's southern regions: the republics of Kabardino-Balkaria, Daghestan, Chechnya, Adygeya and Kalmykia, and the Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories.

    The Russian government decided on Monday to set up a national headquarters to fight the spread of the virus.

    More than 669,000 birds have been culled and more than 381,000 have died during the recent bird flu outbreak that began February 3, 2006.

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