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German Chancellor Calls Bird Flu Situation 'Serious'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the situation is "serious" as bird flu reaches the German mainland for the first time.

Authorities Sunday found the deadly H5N1 strain in two wild birds in the north. Eighteen new cases were also discovered on the Baltic island of Ruegen.

Meanwhile, French Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau is urging consumers to keep eating chicken, assuring them it is perfectly safe to eat properly-cooked meat.

France reported its first bird flu case Saturday.

Italy says it will ask for European Union aid for poultry farmers who have lost millions of dollars as chicken consumption there plummets.

Also, India has begun killing chickens in western Maharastra state after reporting the country's first bird flu case Saturday.

No human bird flu cases have been reported outside of Asia and Turkey, where about 90 people have died since 2003.

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