Three people may have bird flu on Indian Ocean island

Three people may have bird flu on Indian Ocean island

Three people may have bird flu on Indian Ocean island

Updated 31 March 2012, 14:05 AEDT

France says three people who recently returned to the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion from Asia are feared to have caught avian flu.

The suspected cases involved three people who went to Thailand and visited a zoo, where they were in contact with birds.

The initial tests carried out on Reunion were positive, and samples are being rushed to Paris for further tests.

Meanwhile, officials in China have mobilized roadside sterilization stations and are inspecting markets to tackle the third outbreak of bird flu in a week.

The latest scare came in the central province of Hunan where more than 500 chickens and ducks died from the H5N1 strain.

The period between September and November is considered the most risky in China as migratory birds are heading south for the winter.