Mass culling begins in Japanese bird flu outbreak
Japan is to cull 112,000 chickens after officials confirmed the presence of bird flu on a poultry farm in the south of the country. This is the first confirmed incidence bird flu in Japan in three years.
DNA tests confirmed the H5 strain of the virus at a farm in Kumamoto prefecture that kept 56,000 birds, after its owner reported sudden deaths among his poultry, the agriculture ministry said in a statement.
Officials also ordered the culling of another 56,000 birds at a separate farm run by the same owner after treating it as a location of possible infections, the ministry said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga held a meeting with selected ministers, including Agriculture Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, to discuss the outbreak. "The government will take thorough measures to prevent wider infections," Suga told the meeting.
The ministry has however been warning farmers about infection risks, citing the continued spread of the disease in Asia, including neighbouring South Korea.
The movement of chickens from the two affected farms as well as other farms in their vicinities has been banned by local authorities. Sanitising has begun in areas around the two farms and testing will aslo take place on birds at other farms in the area.
The government will dispatch a team of officials and experts to identify the cause of the latest infections and to assist local authorities to take necessary measures.
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