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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

WHO Says Bird Flu Should Disappear in 15 Days

ST. PETERSBURG -- The bird flu outbreak in Siberia is subsiding and should disappear altogether in 10 to 15 days, a World Health Organization specialist said Tuesday.

"Things are quieting down," Oleg Kiselyov, head of a research institute operating under the WHO's auspices, told reporters. "It won't spread further because of changing weather conditions. It's never warm enough in Siberia in late August. ... The measures undertaken have helped localize the outbreak."

In another sign of calm, the Emergency Situations Ministry said the number of deaths among domestic and wild birds was just 15 overnight compared with a total of 5,583 since mid-July.

But the country's top epidemiologist, Gennady Onishchenko, said it was too early to draw rosy conclusions. "We would've been drinking champagne by now if it had been pinned down," he said in Novosibirsk.

The highly potent H5N1 strain is mainly concentrated in the Novosibirsk region. It has killed over 50 people in Asia since 2003.

There were also fears among veterinary officials that migrating birds could take the virus to other countries.

"It's possible that they have already spread it," Yevgeny Nepoklonov, a senior veterinary official, told Interfax. "They fly not only over Siberia but also along the far eastern coast on to the United States. Some birds fly along the Kazakh border from Novosibirsk water reservoirs and then on to Volgograd."