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Bird Flu Suspected in Japan


Japanese officials say the deaths of hundreds of chickens in eastern Japan earlier this year may have been caused by a fresh outbreak of bird flu.

About 430 chickens died between March and May at a poultry farm in Ibaraki prefecture, north of Tokyo. The farm keeps 25,000 chickens.

A government laboratory is conducting tests to confirm whether the deaths were caused by the virus.

Officials inspected the farm on Saturday, but found no abnormalities.

Japan suffered several outbreaks of bird flu last year. No one in Japan has yet been infected by the H5N1 avian flu virus that has killed 38 Vietnamese, 12 Thais and four Cambodians since the latest epidemic began in 2003.

Some information for this story provided by Reuters and AFP.