JAPAN - Another outbreak of H5 avian influenza at a poultry farm in Miyazaki prefecture has been confirmed.
The Miyazaki Prefectural Government had slaughtered 42,000 chickens on a farm in the city of Miyazaki by Monday morning after a genetic test of dead fowl confirmed the presence of a highly pathogenic bird flu virus, reports Japan Times.
Chickens at the poultry farm in the Uranomyo area in the city tested positive for the H5 strain of the bird flu, the prefectural government has confirmed.
The prefecture set up 10 disinfection points on roads around the affected farm.
This is the second time a highly pathogenic bird flu strain has been confirmed in Japan this year. On 16 December, the H5N8 virus was confirmed at a poultry farm in Nobeoka, also in Miyazaki Prefecture, where about 4,000 chickens were culled.
A prefectural official said it was uncertain whether the two cases are linked.
At around 11:30am on 28 December, the poultry farm in Uranomyo first reported to the Miyazaki government that chicken deaths seemed to be on the rise there. The prefecture conducted a simple test on five dead chickens and five that were alive, and all of the dead chickens tested positive for bird flu.
Chickens within a radius of 3km of the outbreak have been prohibited from being moved and shipments of another 1.93 million chickens within 10km have been banned.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has instructed related ministries to make sure proper quarantine measures were being taken. The central government was planning to dispatch an emergency assistance team to the affected area.
Prefectural and industry officials expressed shock at the latest outbreak, whose impact would be far larger than the Nobeoka case. According to Japan Times, the officials had thought that the Nobeoka outbreak had been contained.
“Unlike the first case (in Nobeoka), the bird flu this time will involve far bigger numbers of chickens and farms. We need to move quickly,” Miyazaki Governor, Shunji Kono, said at an emergency meeting of officials.
“We really didn’t want the second case to take place,” said Tetsuro Nakada, a prefectural official in charge of animal husbandry. “We must do our best to keep the virus from spreading further.”
Miyazaki suffered a large outbreak in 2011, when a series of infections led to the culling of more than one million chickens across the prefecture.
You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.
Top image via Shutterstock