The officials say that Bird flu is spreading across South Asian poultry, one of the most crowded places on earth and, far from being brought under control, looks almost certain to remain a long-term menace in. Almost from February, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar have culled hundreds of thousands of chickens and shut poultry farms, yet the virus has kept on spreading to new areas.
What is surprising in a good way is that no humans known to be infected in South Asia, that to when hundreds of millions in the countryside live with their livestock.
The fears over the H5N1 flu virus have slashed the demand for chicken meat and eggs, causing havoc on the livelihoods of countless workers in India, about $7.8 billion poultry industry. It has even lead to the suicides of nine Indian farmers, an industry group said.
However the reaction of many ordinary people is slowly turning from panic to cautious resignation. In a region of more than 1.3 billion people, bird flu is just one of many threats they face as they try to overcome poverty, along with the dangers of other illnesses, militancy and natural disasters.