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Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 16:08 UK

Fresh bird flu outbreak in India

By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

Birds being taken for culling in West Bengal
Millions of birds were culled in West Bengal

Officials in the Indian state of Tripura have ordered the culling of about 40,000 birds after an outbreak of bird flu was confirmed.

They say the virulent H5N1 strain has been detected in poultry in nearly 40 villages bordering Bangladesh.

The culling of birds would begin from Tuesday, they said.

Earlier this year, West Bengal reported an outbreak of avian influenza. In Bangladesh, the epidemic has spread to more than half the country.

The first outbreak of avian flu in India was in the western state of Maharashtra in 2006.

So far no cases of human infection have been reported either in India or Bangladesh.

Slaughtered

The affected villages are located in Tripura's Dhalai district, officials said.

Veterinary officials said the Animal Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory in the central Indian city of Bhopal had confirmed the flu strain in samples of dead birds which were sent there earlier this month.

The samples were sent after thousands of birds in these villages suffered unnatural deaths.

Officials said 15 teams have been constituted for culling operations.

Tripura is the second northeast Indian state to be hit by bird flu. Manipur was affected by bird flu last year.

Earlier this year, more than a million birds were slaughtered in the eastern state of West Bengal after an outbreak of bird flu.



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