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The bird flu virus that has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of chickens in Japan and Vietnam is closely related to the one discovered at a goose farm in China’s Guangdong Province in 1996, Japanese researchers said Thursday.

The virus found in China is called Gd96 and gave rise to the H5N1 strain, the researchers said. The H5N1 virus led to the outbreak of bird flu in Honk Kong in 1997 that killed six people.

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