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Japan bird flu outbreak spreads to farm in fourth prefecture

Japan bird flu outbreak spreads to farm in fourth prefecture

Soldiers in anti-virus suits head to a chicken farm in November 2016, when the last big bird flu outbreak occurred in Japan. (Photo: AFP/STR/Ground Self Defense Force via Ji)

TOKYO: Bird flu has been detected in a fourth Japanese prefecture, the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday (Dec 1), as a wave of infections at poultry farms sparks the country's worst outbreak in more than four years.

Avian influenza was discovered at a poultry farm in Hyuga city in Miyazaki prefecture on Kyushu island in southwestern Japan, the ministry said on its website. There is no possibility that humans will contract bird flu from eating poultry or eggs, the ministry said.

Japan's worst outbreak since at least 2016 started last month in Kagawa prefecture on Shikoku island, which is adjacent to Kyushu island.

The 40,000 chickens at the Miyazaki farm will be slaughtered and buried, while exports in a 3km (1.8 mile) radius around the farm will be restricted.

The new action means more than 1.8 million chickens will have been culled since the latest outbreak began.

Japan's last outbreak of bird flu was in January 2018, also in Kagawa prefecture, when 91,000 chickens were culled.

The last big outbreak was between November 2016 and March 2017, when a total of 1.67 million chickens were culled due to the H5N6 strain of bird flu.

Bird flu is being reported around the world with South Korea on Tuesday confirming another case in an outbreak that has led to the culling of around 400,000 chickens and ducks.

In Europe, the poultry industry is on alert as a highly contagious and deadly form of bird flu is spreading rapidly on the continent.

Source: Reuters/hs


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