Mexico reports bird flu outbreaks in Puebla, Oaxaca states

PARIS/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has reported outbreaks of highly pathogenic H7N3 bird flu virus in two backyards in the states of Oaxaca and Puebla in the southern part of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Thursday. Following a notification by the homeowners of an increase in the sudden death of birds, 139 birds were found infected by the virus, the Mexican agriculture ministry said in a report posted on the website of the Paris-based organisation. "The official veterinary services launched the necessary epidemiological investigation and the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus subtype H7N3 was confirmed," it said. Both outbreaks were confirmed as positive for avian influenza on March 9. The report said that so far, no epidemiological link had been identified between them. Mexico's agriculture ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the reported cases were immediately controlled and that animal health authorities had not found any other infected birds. No traces of the virus were found within a 10 kilometer radius of the area, the ministry said. The ministry also said poultry companies in the areas had not been affected. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide and Adriana Barrera; Editing by Mark Potter, Toni Reinhold)

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