Stray dog dies of bird flu in Azerbaijan

Health officials say a stray dog has died of bird flu in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

The deadly H5N1 strain of the virus was discovered in migratory bird flocks in Azerbaijan last month.

The country which is placed at the crossroads of Europe and Asia has already had it's share of bird flu with three people dead from the virus.

The dog apparently died on March 9 and after tests a type of bird flu was discovered.

The disease has hit domestic and wild birds throughout the South Caucasus state.

According to the state commission which has the job of fighting the spread of the virus, a medical investigation is continuing and the government has taken measures to quarantine the two regions where the women died.

The three victims were thought to have been infected through contact with birds. The deaths of the three young Azeri women would take the WHO total for human deaths from bird flu to 101.

Entry and exit to their villages is being controlled, cars are being disinfected and domestic poultry is being being kept inside.

The World Health Organization has yet to confirm bird flu caused the human deaths, but it seems highly likely.

This is the first dog reported to have died of the virus in Europe, although Germany has reported that at least three cats and one stone marten have been infected.

Austria has also reported cats infected with the deadly H5N1 strain on flu.

To date there have been no confirmed cases of the virus being transmitted by humans and most people who have contracted it have been in close contact with infected birds.

Experts however fear the virus could mutate into a form that can pass from person to person, triggering a pandemic which could see millions die.

Bird flu which has been spreading from South-East Asia since 2003 has also been found in wild birds in Sweden and Denmark.

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