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Indian Officials Wrap Up Efforts to Bring Bird Flu Under Control


Officials in eastern India say they are concluding efforts to bring the nation's worst outbreak of bird flu under control.

The animal resources minister for the state of West Bengal, Anisur Rahaman, says health workers are expected to complete the slaughter of nearly three million poultry by later Saturday. He says the next step is to sanitize backyard poultry yards and coops.

Bird flu has been detected in 13 of 19 districts in West Bengal, with officials closely monitoring health workers and villagers who have come into contact with infected poultry. Workers have been asked to quarantine themselves before they return to their homes.

The virus was first detected in the Birbhum district of West Bengal in early January.

Officials in the neighboring state of Assam and in Bangladesh also are slaughtering poultry after bird flu was detected there.

There have been no confirmed human cases of bird flu in India, and state officials say they will continue to send blood samples for testing to make sure the virus has not spread to people.

The World Health Organization says 224 people around the world have died from the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu since 2003.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.