MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) - The bird flu virus found in the southern Ukrainian autonomy of the Crimea has been identified as the Group A H5N1 strain genetically similar to the strains believed to have caused outbreaks in Japan, China and Russia's Far East, the Russian government agency for consumer rights protection said Tuesday.
Laboratories in Russia and London had previously confirmed the presence of the H5N1 strain, which is potentially lethal to humans, in the region.
Biological tests on dead and sick poultry from the Crimea show the birds were infected with the H5N1 strain genetically similar to the Far Eastern Yokogama, Qinghai, Yunhan and Shantou strains, the agency said.
It said Russia was providing expertise and equipment to help Ukraine contain the spread of the H5N1. The Federal Center for Influenza, which is a partner of the World Health Organization, and the Central Epidemiology Institute have held a number of seminars and workshops on anti-H5N1 measures in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, and the southern city of Simferopol.