We have what appears to be the biggest outbreak yet of the avian flu in Europe in Ukraine. More than 2,000 domestic birds have died of it in a remote region of the Crimean peninsula:
President Viktor Yushchenko declared a state of emergency in five villages on Saturday after the agriculture ministry said it had identified the H5 subtype of bird flu virus. Officials enforced a quarantine and began culling and burning the villagesâ€™ birds on Sunday.
But the governmentâ€™s failure to notice the outbreak earlier is likely to heighten concerns across Europe about Ukraineâ€™s ability to deal with the bird flu problem. Ukrainian villagers who keep birds in their gardens are at particular risk, because they regularly handle birds that may have come into contact with the migratory wild birds that spread the virus.