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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zoo Takes Measures to Prevent Flu Outbreak

The Moscow Zoo has introduced a set of precautionary measures to protect its feathered population from contracting the deadly bird flu virus, its chief veterinarian said Thursday.

The move follows last week's discovery of the lethal H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus roughly 350 kilometers to the south of Moscow.

Measures taken by the zoo include keeping the birds in quarantine, spraying birdhouses with disinfectants and continually monitoring the condition of the 2,000-strong population, Mikhail Alshinetsky said.

"While the zoo is closed, we also shoot crows and pigeons to test them for various diseases they can carry," Alshinetsky said.

He offered assurances that the zoo posed no threat to visitors.

The message to visitors comes after recent reports of a suspected case of the disease that may have been related to a visit to a zoo in Thailand.

A 43-year-old man in France's Indian Ocean island of Reunion is thought to have contracted the virus after a trip to Thailand, where he visited the zoo, recent reports have said.

Valentin Kozlitin, the veterinarian specializing in treating birds at Moscow zoo, said the quarantine was the best way to control the disease.

If the virus were discovered in the zoo, the entire bird population of the zoo would have to be eliminated.