Ethiopia says scores of birds found dead recently have tested negative for the bird flu.

A spokesman for Ethiopia's Agriculture Ministry, Mulgueta Debalk, says the birds that were tested died of the Newcastle virus, which is common among fowl but harmless to humans.

Ethiopia tested a total of 62 birds after hundreds of pigeons, chickens and other birds were found dead in various parts of the country several weeks ago.

Ethiopia and other African nations have been watching for any sign of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus. The virus has killed more than 70 people in Asia since 2003.

There are fears that migratory birds could carry it to Africa. The virus has already been found in birds in Europe and the Middle East.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.