JAPAN - Local authorities in northeastern and western Japan began the culling on Friday of around 300,000 chickens after a highly virulent stain of the H5 strain of bird flu was detected in dead birds at poultry farms in the regions.
At a farm in Miyagi Prefecture in Japan's northeast, local officials began culling 220,000 chickens after 96 chickens were found dead between Tuesday and Thursday.
After genetic testing, some of the dead birds were found to have been infected by the H5 strain of the virus.
In Chiba Prefecture, 68,000 chickens will be culled after authorities found 118 dead birds at a farm there.
In both prefectures, local officials asked for the assistance of the Self-Defense Forces to help in the culling process.
Other poultry farms in the vicinity of the farms where the virus has been detected have been banned from moving chickens and eggs.
Local authorities from both prefecture said they hoped the cull would be completed by Monday.
The latest bird flu outbreak follows others recently in the southwestern prefectures of Miyazaki and Saga.
You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.