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Japan and Thailand Confirm Outbreaks of H5N1


Officials in Japan and Thailand have confirmed outbreaks of the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu. Authorities in Vietnam say the virus has spread to a seventh province there.

Japanese officials confirmed Tuesday an outbreak of the H5N1 virus at a poultry farm in southwestern Japan. It is the first time in almost three years that Japan has detected the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which can be lethal to humans.

The virus killed about 4,000 chickens last week at a farm in Kiyotake town in Miyazaki prefecture. No human infections from the Miyazaki outbreak have been reported.

Thai officials say the virus has infected ducks in northern Phitsanulok province. It is the first outbreak in Thailand in six months.

In Vietnam, authorities say H5N1 has spread to Soc Trang province as authorities there are stepping up efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

The rising number of human bird flu deaths in Indonesia and outbreaks among poultry in other countries have put the whole region on alert.

Last week, four people in Indonesia died from bird flu infections, prompting the government to call for a ban on keeping poultry in backyards. Indonesia's human death toll from bird flu has reached 61, the highest of any country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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