Meanwhile, a dead pigeon discovered in western Georgia on Thursday caused panic among local residents, according to local television.

Reports said the bird was found near the central market in the town of Zugdidi, about 300 kilometers (190 miles) west of the capital, Tbilisi.

Witnesses said the pigeon was sitting on an electricity transmission line and then suddenly plummeted to the ground. “It must have been ill with bird flu,” people who gathered around the dead bird are reported to have said.

Local veterinaries examined the pigeon, and said it had not been infected with bird flu, a television channel, Imedi, said.

– another report suggests it had been electrocuted, which seems plausible given the habitat description.