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The National Institute of Animal Health said Thursday that since mice can be infected by the strain of bird flu virus that killed chickens in Yamaguchi and Oita prefectures, so can humans.

Also on Thursday, health officials in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, said nine game fowl found dead along a nearby river the previous day had been incinerated before confirmation could be made on whether they, too, had succumbed to bird flu.

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