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Ten countries hit by bird flu in January

 Bird flu cases have been registered in ten countries worldwide so far this month, Russia's agricultural watchdog said on Wednesday.

In Dominica, Israel, Benin, Vietnam, China and Myanmar, which have all been hit by outbreaks, "Quarantine has been imposed... the mobility of birds has been restricted, and disinfection and vaccination measures are underway," Rosselkhoznadzor said.

In Israel, bird flu infected 18 chickens at a kindergarten. A bird flu outbreak in northwest China killed nearly 5000 fowl and led to the slaughter of 35,000 last week.

Bird flu cases have also been reported in Portugal, West Bengal, Bangladesh, and the U.K. this month.

On Wednesday, a swan in Dorset, southern England, died of bird flu. Local officials believe the bird, the fourth to die at the Abbotsbury reserve, was infected with the H5N1 strain of the virus, which is lethal to humans.

Although no cases of human-to-human transmission of H5N1 have been reported, scientists fear the virus could mutate into a strain that could pass easily between people, causing a global pandemic.

A total of 216 deaths out of 348 bird flu human cases have been registered worldwide by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 2003.


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