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Human Bird Flu Cases Suspected on Indian Ocean Island

Three suspected cases of bird flu in humans have been discovered on Reunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean off Madagascar.

French Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said Wednesday the three Reunion residents may have caught the virus from a bird zoo in Thailand.

French authorities are carrying out more tests.

More than 62 people have died from bird flu in Asia since 2003.

It is not believed that bird flu can be passed from human to human. But scientists fear the virus could mutate with a human flu virus to create a pandemic, putting millions of lives at risk.

Also Wednesday, China reported a new bird flu outbreak that killed more than 500 chickens and ducks in Hunan province.

In Europe, health officials say tests now confirm that the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has spread to Croatia. Authorities there have begun slaughtering some poultry flocks. Bird flu has also been found in Romania, Russia, and Turkey.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.