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Asian Countries Battle New Bird Flu Outbreaks

Authorities in several Asian countries are working to contain new outbreaks of bird flu.

Cambodia has begun slaughtering poultry in a district south of the capital, Phnom Penh, where a 19-year-old man last week tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus. The agriculture ministry also ordered a 30-day ban on selling or transporting poultry in Kandal province.

The man is the eighth confirmed human case of bird flu in Cambodia, and the first person diagnosed with the disease there this year.

In India, authorities in the eastern state of West Bengal are meeting resistance from villagers in their efforts to cull poultry after a new outbreak of bird flu was confirmed there earlier this week.

Local officials and residents say many villagers do not want to hand over their birds without immediate compensation.

Some say they have never been paid for birds they lost during two other rounds of bird-culling at the beginning of this year. The government says it has increased the amount of compensation paid to bird-owners this time around.

Hundreds of thousands of poultry are already being culled in the northeastern state of Assam, where bird flu was detected late last month. Health workers in Assam are monitoring at least a hundred people who have shown signs of the virus, but officials have not confirmed a human case.

Meanwhile, the French news agency AFP quotes a U.N. official, Vincent Martin of the Food and Agriculture Organization, as downplaying the danger of a new outbreak of bird flu in China, after the virus was detected in the eastern province of Jiangsu.

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