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Indian Officials Say Country Has Had No Human Cases of Bird Flu


Indian leaders say no human cases of the bird flu have been reported so far, but the virus has spread to poultry in seven districts in the eastern state of West Bengal.

India's Health Minister Anubumani Ramadoss Tuesday criticized the state's handling of the outbreak, saying quicker action could have prevented the spread of the virus.

Bird flu was first detected in West Bengal last week, with 400,000 birds slaughtered so far. State officials say another two million birds will need to be killed in the next week.

Health workers are fighting an uphill battle in the state, with many local villagers unaware of the bird flu and refusing to give up their poultry to be killed. Officials continue to collect and analyze blood samples from residents.

Nepalese officials have banned poultry imports from neighboring India.

And in Bangladesh, health workers are scrambling to contain the spread of the disease, which has already reached nearly half of the country's 64 districts.

Separately, in Indonesia today, health officials confirmed that a 30-year-old man has become the country's 120th person to be infected with the virus.

According to the World Health Organization, bird flu has killed at least 218 people worldwide since 2003, mostly in Asia. Indonesia has seen the most deaths in the world, where the WHO says 97 people have already died from the disease.

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