Yamaguchi bird flu outbreak third case confirmed in Japan this winter

H1N1 virus
H1N1 virus

Regional government officials have confirmed the detection of a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu virus at two chicken farms, in Miyazaki and Yamaguchi prefectures — the second and third cases of avian influenza in Japan this winter.

The Miyazaki Prefectural Government announced the detection of the virus on a farm in the city of Miyazaki late Sunday night and culled all 42,000 birds raised there, officials said Monday.

The first case was confirmed Dec. 16 in the city of Nobeoka, also in Miyazaki Prefecture, which is known as the country’s top producer of broiler chickens.

In Yamaguchi Prefecture, the prefectural government announced early Tuesday morning that a genetic test confirmed the virus on a farm in the city of Nagato, about 275 km north of the city of Miyazaki, after a total of 21 chickens died Sunday and Monday.

All three cases involve the H5 variety of the virus, according to officials.

In the latest case in Miyazaki Prefecture, the farm in the city of Miyazaki reported to the prefecture at about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday that increasing numbers of chickens were dying. Chickens later tested positive in a genetic test for bird flu.

The Miyazaki government has asked five other chicken farms located within a radius of 3 km of the affected farm to refrain from moving their approximately 145,000 chickens from their farms.

It also asked farms within 10 km not to take their chickens out of the 10-km radius zone. A total of 55 chicken farms are located within the 10-km radius, excluding the five in the 3-km zone.

The prefectural government called on poultry farmers to take thorough disease control measures during an emergency meeting Monday morning, but one of the participants said the situation is distressing because the poultry farm in question “got infected even though it was taking proper protective measures.”

Yamaguchi Prefecture is following similar procedures — culling around 37,000 birds and placing bans on the movement and shipment of chickens in the area.

In January 2004, Yamaguchi Prefecture reported chickens at a farm in what is now the city of Yamaguchi were infected with a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu, the first avian flu case in Japan in nearly 80 years. At that time about, 34,000 birds were killed.

Source: The Japan Times

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