The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Japan has confirmed that chickens found dead at a poultry farm in Shimane Prefecture recently were indeed killed by the highly pathogenic H5 avian flu virus.
Definitive tests conducted at the National Institute of Animal Health (NIAH) in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture confirmed the presence of H5 avian flu in samples taken from the dead birds. Meanwhile, an agriculture ministry inspection team found two holes in fences surrounding the farm large enough for wild birds to enter, suggesting one possible route of infection.
The 21,549 chickens at the farm were ordered destroyed, while movement of poultry was forbidden within a 10-kilometer radius of the property. Further testing is required to ascertain which strain of H5 killed the chickens.
The ministry has called on regional governments nationwide to make sure poultry farm fences are in good repair and wild birds potentially carrying the infection can be kept out.