Bird flu hits Vietnam village near Chinese border

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HANOI, Oct 26 (Reuters) Bird flu has killed poultry in a Vietnamese village on the Chinese border, the third outbreak of the highly infectious virus in the country this month, Hanoi's Aninal Health Department said.

''Tests on the samples from the dead poultry were positive to the bird flu virus H5N1,'' it said in a statement seen today.

About 560 ducks and chicken were infected in the village of Lung Na in the Trung Khanh district of Vietnam's northern province of Cao Bang,, the statement said.

It made no mention of human infections by the virus, which has killed four of the seven Vietnamese who have caught it this year, taking the country's death toll since late 2003 to 46.

The virus has already struck duck farms this month in thecentral province of Quang Tri and Tra Vinh in the south despite a major vaccination campaigns.

Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat said earlier this month bird flu would return among unvaccinated birds, especially as the weather cooled in late autumn and winter in northern provinces.

Vaccinations are under way in 40 of Vietnam's 64 provinces and 62.65 million birds have been injected, nearly one third of the poultry stock, the Agriculture Ministry said.

Globally, the H5N1 virus has killed 204 people out of 332 known cases, with most of the deaths in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Egypt, the World Health Organisation said.

REUTERS ARB KN0909

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