Avian Flu Outbreaks Confirmed in Thailand and Japan

Thailand and Japan confirm their first H5N1 outbreaks since July and 2004, respectively.

Officials in Thailand and Japan this week confirmed outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza in birds in those countries.

In Thailand's outbreak, its first since last July, 2,100 birds either died or were culled. The outbreak started Jan. 9, infecting ducks in a northern province.

The outbreak in Japan, which killed almost 3,500 chickens and prompted the culling of 12,000 more, was its first avian flu outbreak since 2004.

Appearances of the virus in birds and humans have increased recently, with diseased birds reported in Vietnam, Hong Kong, South Korea and Nigeria in the past month and new human cases appearing in Indonesia, China and Egypt.

Almost all human cases - a reported 267 people in 10 countries since 2003, with 161 fatalities - have been connected to close contact with sick domestic birds. Four deaths have been reported in Indonesia this year.

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