Four Asian nations confirmed the presence of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu on Thursday while China said it faced a long struggle to contain the disease before the arrival of flu-carrying migratory birds in spring.
Afghanistan, India and Myanmar said tests had now confirmed H5N1 caused recent outbreaks in birds, while Malaysia reported two new cases in a wild bird and dead chickens.
[...] So far, no human cases have been reported in India, Afghanistan, Myanmar or Malaysia but hundreds of people near India's latest outbreak in western Maharashtra state have complained of fever. Doctors say they are most likely suffering from dengue but further tests are being done.
Indian health authorities said they were not taking any chances and had sent dozens of medical teams looking for people with flu-like symptoms to every household of the affected area.
Veterinary and civic workers wearing protective gear moved door-to-door in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra collecting chickens and eggs after paying owners 40 rupees (90 cents) for every bird as compensation. Eggs went free.
In Myanmar, officials have slaughtered more than 5,000 birds, temporarily closed poultry markets and banned bird movements in two bird flu-hit townships, state media said.