Officials fail to stop bird flu in e. India, disease spreading to new areas

Bird flu was confirmed in two more districts of eastern Indian on Wednesday as officials blamed a holiday, bad weather and a lack of trained personnel for their failure to contain the country's worst outbreak of the disease. The disease was confirmed in the Cooch Behar and Hooghly districts of West Bengal, state Animal Husbandry Minister Anisur Rahman said. The Hooghly outbreak was of particular concern because it is just 30 kilometers from Calcutta, a city of 14 million people. The disease has now spread to nine of West Bengal state's 19 districts, killing hundreds of thousands of birds since it was first reported last week, Rahman said. No human cases have been reported. Meanwhile, several villages in the neighboring state of Bihar near the West Bengal border were ordered to start slaughtering poultry as a precaution, said Bihar animal husbandry department official Anil Sinha.