TOKYO – Japanese authorities announced on Friday the culling of about 91,000 chickens on a farm in southwest Japan where several animals were found to be infected with a highly pathogenic form of the bird flu virus.
The new outbreak has been detected on a farm in Kagawa prefecture of Shikoku Island, after it was found that more than 50 dead chickens this week were infected with the highly contagious H5 strain of the virus, regional authorities confirmed in a statement.
The culling began shortly before midnight Thursday and will conclude in about 24 hours and the movement of eggs and animals within a radius of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of the farm has been suspended while the area has been cleaned with disinfectants, reported Japanese news agency Kyodo.
At a press conference following a meeting with Agriculture and Health ministers, government spokesperson, Yoshihide Suga, pointed out the possibility of other cases of bird flu outside the area and local authorities must be wary of it spreading.
Local authorities explained that so far no cases of bird flu infections have been reported among humans due to the consumption of contaminated eggs or poultry.
This is the first case of bird flu in Japan this year since the virus appeared in the country in late 2014 forcing the culling of about 1.7 million livestock after a major outbreak in late 2016.