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Bird Flu Kills Two More in Indonesia; Japan Confirms Outbreak


Bird Flu has killed two more Indonesians, infected a farm in southern Japan and spread to an additional province in Vietnam.

Indonesian health officials say two women infected with the bird flu virus have died, raising the country's total number of deaths from the disease to at least 61.

Earlier this week, a teenage boy and a 37-year-old woman died of bird flu in Indonesia.

In Vietnam, officials confirmed Saturday that another outbreak of bird flu has been detected in a southern province, Tra Vinh. That brings the total number of affected provinces to six - Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Hau Giang, Vinh Long and Kien Giang.

Vietnamese officials have asked local authorities to take urgent measures to stop the spread of the disease. Last month, Vietnam began reporting its first outbreaks of the disease in a year.

Since late 2003, the H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 150 people worldwide, mostly in Asia.

Meanwhile, Japanese officials also confirmed Saturday that bird flu caused the deaths of more than 2,000 chickens at a farm in southern Japan.

Japan says it has identified the virus as part of the H5 family, but it has not yet determined whether the virus is the deadly and highly pathogenic H5N1 strain or the less deadly H5N2 strain.

Japanese officials say they will begin culling the remaining 10,000 birds at the farm located in Japan's Miyazaki prefecture, about 900 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.

Bird flu remains hard for humans to catch, but experts fear the virus could mutate into a form easily transferrable by human-to-human contact.

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