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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 12:24 GMT
Malaysia reports more bird flu
A Malaysian health official holding a chicken
Malaysia had previously prided itself on keeping the flu at bay
Malaysia has reported three fresh outbreaks of bird flu in its northern states.

On Tuesday, state media said six chickens tested positive for the deadly H5N1 virus in Perak, where two other outbreaks were detected last week.

On Monday, the government confirmed chickens were also infected in a village in neighbouring Penang state.

In February Malaysia confirmed its first cases since one small outbreak in late 2004.

The latest cases in Perak were found during monitoring by health officials, state agriculture official Mohamad Radzi Manan told Malaysia's Bernama news agency.

One of the outbreaks, at Changkat Legong, is within a 5km- (3 mile-) radius of an outbreak found last week in Changkat Tualang, causing more than 43,000 birds to be culled.

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The second area at Titi Gantung is approximately 60km (40 miles) away.

No human cases of the virus have been reported in Malaysia.

The H5N1 virus, which causes bird flu, does not pose a large-scale threat to humans, as it cannot pass easily from one person to another.

Experts however fear the virus could mutate to do so, and in its new form trigger a flu pandemic, potentially putting millions of human lives at risk.

According to the World Health Organization, 170 people worldwide have contracted avian flu and more than 90 have died. There have been no confirmed cases of human to human transmission.


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