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Bird flu effect: Russia to close border with Turkey

Russia is considering closing its border with Turkey if the bird flu outbreak in the latter country continues to spread.

world Updated: Jan 10, 2006 09:32 IST

Russia is considering closing its border with Turkey if the bird flu outbreak in the latter country continues to spread, a senior official has said.

Chief Sanitary Doctor Gennady Onishchenko called for imposing a temporary ban on travel to Turkey and said that the border could be closed in line with international norms.

"If the situation aggravates, we will ban trans-border movement in line with World Health Organisation requirements," Onishchenko told Echo Moskvy Radio.

He added that Russian pilgrims who had crossed Azerbaijan's border with Turkey en route for Haj would probably have to change the route of their return journey.

Two sanitary posts have been opened on the border between Daghestan, Russia's republic in the North Caucasus, and Azerbaijan that borders on Turkey, Onishchenko said.

People crossing the border are being examined for symptoms of avian flu. There are also sanitary posts on the Russian-Georgian border, he said.

Speaking on the situation in Turkey he said, "Unfortunately, the situation has tended to aggravate since January 7."

"The virus has advanced to the east, and bird flu cases have been reported near Ankara already." He noted that so far in Russia cases of human affected by H5N1 virus strain have not been registered.

"We lack data on human-to-human transmission of the virus," he said.

Russia has begun to test a vaccine against the virus on a group of volunteers, he said, adding that although strain to be used was not a pandemic strain, it could be used as a basis for a vaccine.

First Published: Jan 10, 2006 09:32 IST