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Bird Flu Continues to Spread in Northeastern India


Indian officials are ordering the slaughter of more poultry, as bird flu spreads in the northeastern state of West Bengal.

State officials say the virus has been detected in at least two new districts. The bird flu outbreak was confirmed earlier this week in and around Morgram village in Birbhum district.

Officials are ordering the immediate destruction of poultry in the newly affected areas, without waiting for laboratory confirmation of the virus. The state has slaughtered more than 36,000 birds out of roughly 400,000.

Government efforts to control the virus are being hampered by farmers who are refusing to give up their chickens and ducks. Some are throwing bird carcasses in nearby wells and ponds, ignorant of the risks associated with bird flu.

Health workers continue to go door-to-door to raise awareness and look for any symptoms of the virus in local residents.

The deadly virus also was found in neighboring Bangladesh this week, where officials are slaughtering chickens.

No human cases of bird flu have been reported in Bangladesh or India.

According to the World Health Organization, bird flu has killed at least 218 people worldwide since 2003, mostly in Asia.

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