Possible bird flu in Philippine - mysterious deaths of 50 chickens

Philippine authorities were investigating possible bird flu in the sudden deaths of 50 chickens in a village north of Manila, an official said Friday.

Blood samples have already been taken from at least two of the birds in a village outside Calumpit, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Manila, the same town where a low-risk version of bird flu was discovered in a duck farm in July.

"At the moment we do not have a confirmatory diagnosis," said Divino Catbagan, director of the Bureau of Animal Industry. "It could be a New Castle disease situation, but we will confirm that with the blood ... by tomorrow (Saturday)."

That disease is caused by a highly infectious virus that can wipe out a poultry farm, reports the AP. I.L.

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