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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Government Watchdog Reports Bird Flu Outbreak in Krasnodar

A government watchdog on Tuesday reported the third outbreak this year of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu after 410 birds died on a poultry farm in the Krasnodar region, but the growing poultry sector is set to withstand the scare.

Another 414 birds were culled and strict quarantine measures were put in place at the farm in the Black Sea region after local laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the virus in dead birds, the Agriculture Ministry's Federal Service for Veterinarian and Vegetation Sanitary Supervision said.

"It's serious enough to bring in strict measures, including quarantine, to make sure it does not spread," watchdog spokesman Alexei Alexeyenko said. "An investigation is being carried out to determine the source of the infection."

The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain was responsible for the deaths of birds at the Lebyazhye-Chepiginskoye farm, in the same region where the virus was detected in dead domestic birds in January.

The second outbreak this year occurred in February, when several cases in towns around Moscow were traced to the city's best-known pet market.

The country expects to boost poultry meat output 16 percent this year to about 1.8 million tons, cutting the share of imports in domestic consumption. Domestic poultry producers last year supplied about 53 percent of the country's consumption.

Dmitry Rylko, general director of the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, said the size of the country and its quick reaction to bird flu cases offered commercial poultry farmers protection against bird flu.

"Such cases will be repeated from time to time in various regions of the world, including Russia," he said.

"In Russia, large-scale commercial farming is quite well protected against it due to good quarantine measures and the very low density of the poultry population, even in the south."