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Czech Republic: Dead Swan Confirmed as First H5N1 Case

A European Union laboratory in Britain has confirmed that a dead swan found last week in the southern Czech Republic was a victim of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus.

Czech authorities have set up security zones around the site near the town of Hluboka.

The EU laboratory is also testing another swan found in the same area to determine if it was infected with the H5N1 strain which is also deadly to humans.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has proposed providing additional aid to farmers hit by the bird flu. Under the plan, farmers in EU states could receive half the cost of measures taken to support the market in poultry and eggs.

In India, officials say workers are preparing to cull 250,000 after the country's latest bird flu outbreak.

India reported new cases Tuesday in nearly 200 villages in Maharashtra. Officials say tests are under way to determine if the birds have the deadly H5N1 strain.

Hundreds of thousands of chickens were culled in Maharashtra in February and March during previous outbreaks. No human cases have been confirmed there.

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