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China Reports 2 New Cases of Bird Flu in Humans


Chinese state media report two new human cases of bird flu, affecting one girl and one woman in separate eastern provinces.

Citing a Health Ministry statement, Xinhua news agency Saturday says a nine-year-old girl and a 26-year-old woman tested positive for the deadly H5N1 virus. The two are hospitalized in critical condition.

Meanwhile, Indonesia says laboratory tests have confirmed that a 27-year-old woman who died Monday in Jakarta had the virus.

Officials say 20 people in Indonesia have died of bird flu since July.

In Europe, French President Jacques Chirac urged citizens not to panic after confirmation of the deadly H5N1 strain at a turkey farm near Lyon. In comments at an agricultural show in Paris, He said there is no danger in consuming well cooked poultry or eggs.

But an official of the country's agricultural union expressed concern the development will hurt French exports.

Elsewhere, scientists in Hong Kong are conducting further tests on a dead magpie suspected of having H5N1. New cases in birds were also discovered in Germany and India.

Indian officials say the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus was found in chickens on a poultry farm in Utchal in Gujarat state. The area is very close to a region in Maharashtra state where bird flu was first reported a few days ago.

Officials say measures have been taken to prevent bird flu from spreading in the Utchal area.

Indian authorities have culled hundreds of thousands of birds in the Navapur area of Maharashtra to stamp out the virus, and there are no reports of humans being infected so far.

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