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Bird Flu Spreads in Thailand, Tibet - 2004-02-16

Thai officials say they have found bird flu in several places that had been declared free of the disease.

Thailand's agriculture ministry says there are new outbreaks in 14 spots in nine provinces. The government had said the disease was contained in eight of those provinces. Thailand had earlier said it expected to declare the country bird flu free by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, health officials in Vietnam have confirmed a 15-year-old boy has the first new human case of the virus in about a week. And Chinese officials are also reporting new outbreaks of the deadly virus, including in Tibet's capital, Lhasa.

The Associated Press is quoting a World Health Organization official as saying the bird flu outbreak is not going away anytime soon.

The virus, which passes from poultry to humans, has killed at least 20 people in Asia and devastated poultry farms across the region. Officials in Thailand confirmed today that a rare leopard was also killed by the disease.

More than 80 million chickens, ducks and other birds have been slaughtered to try to halt the spread of the disease.