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Bird Deaths Trigger Flu Fears in Malawi


Agriculture officials in Malawi say they are on the alert for bird flu after thousands of migratory birds began dying in the central part of the country.

A livestock and animal health official, Wilfred Lipita says they are cautioning local people not to eat the dead birds (drongos, known locally as namzemze), since they may be carrying the deadly H5N1 form of the virus.

Blood and tissue samples have been sent to South Africa for testing to find out the cause of the bird deaths.

Earlier Friday health officials in Jakarta said local tests showed a 39-year-old Indonesian man has died from bird flu.

If confirmed by the World Health Organization, it would bring to 10 the number of people in Indonesia who have died from the H5N1 strain of the virus.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 70 people in East Asia since 2003.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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