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. Deadly bird flu strain confirmed in Hong Kong

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by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Feb 14, 2008
A waterbird found dead in Hong Kong last week has tested positive for the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain, agricultural officials said Thursday.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said laboratory results showed a grey heron had been infected with the killer virus and reminded people to avoid personal contact with wild birds or live poultry.

The bird carcass was found on February 8 in Lok Ma Chau, near the Chinese border.

This is the third bird flu case to hit the city this year. A black-crowned heron at Hong Kong's Ocean Park, a major Hong Kong tourist attraction, was found to have been infected with the virus on February 1, closing the aviary for three weeks. A great Egret also tested positive for the killer strain last month.

Migratory birds have been blamed for the global spread of the disease, which has killed at least 209 people and ravaged poultry flocks worldwide since 2003.

Hong Kong was the scene of the world's first reported major bird flu outbreak among humans in 1997, when six people died.

World Health Organisation experts say a bird flu pandemic among humans would kill millions worldwide.

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Hundreds dead in Burkina meningitis epidemic: ministry
Ouagadougou (AFP) Feb 13, 2008
A meningitis epidemic in the impoverished East African nation of Burkina Faso has claimed 204 lives since the start of the year, the health ministry said Wednesday.

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