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Indian state reports fresh bird flu outbreak

Health and veterinary workers culled poultry in a densely populated eastern state in India Jan. 3 after a fresh outbreak of H5N1 bird flu, officials said.

The latest outbreak of the virus in poultry is the fourth in the state of West Bengal since 2007.

Bird flu first broke out in India in 2006. Millions of chicken and ducks have been culled since to contain the virus. The country has reported no human infections.

West Bengal officials said they had begun culling about 60,000 poultry after the fourth outbreak was confirmed. Culls to contain the third outbreak had just recently ended.

“We have sent 30 teams to kill chickens and ducks in the village where dead birds tested positive,” Surendra Gupta, a senior government official, told Reuters.

Experts have warned the H5N1 virus might mutate or combine with a seasonal flu virus and spark a pandemic that could kill millions of people across the world. According to the World Health Organization, H5N1 bird flu has killed at least 247 people since it resurfaced in Asia in 2003.



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