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Southern Indian State Moves To Contain Bird Flu Outbreak

Health department officials and volunteers wear protective gear and cull birds in an effort to check for bird flu, at a poultry farm at Keranga village in Khurda district, India, January 13, 2012.

A southern Indian state has begun a three-day bird culling process to contain an outbreak of avian influenza, also known as bird flu.

Kerala state began the precautionary measure Sunday.

The World Health Organization says, "Avian influenza viruses normally spread between birds. However, some viruses have been found to infect humans. When avian influenza infects humans, symptoms may range from mild upper respiratory infection (fever and cough) to severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (difficulty breathing), shock and even death."

"The state government has decided to destroy the disease at the source," Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University Assistant Professor Abdul Muneer told Reuters.

Thousands of birds, mainly chickens, will be killed in the process.