Asian Governments Urged To Contain Bird Flu In 4 Months

ASIA - A leading animal health expert warned that if Asian governments do not contain the spread of bird flu within four months, they will be faced with escalating costs and further damage to the poultry industry.
calendar icon 1 March 2004
clock icon 3 minute read
Japan Bird Flu Outbreak H5N1 Strain - JAPAN - Japanese authorities have identified the country's third bird flu outbreak to be the same deadly H5N1 strain that caused two earlier outbreaks and has devastated the poultry industry in Asia.

The H5N1 strain has killed at least 22 people in Thailand and Vietnam, but there have been no reports of the virus infecting humans in Japan.

The avian flu virus killed around 67,000 birds at a poultry farm in the western prefecture of Kyoto late last month, and Japanese authorities began culling chickens at the Kyoto farm on Sunday to stem the spread of the virus.

Tests of chickens killed in the latest outbreak showed the birds had the same H5N1 strain found in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea, as well as in two earlier outbreaks in Japan, the farm ministry said in a statement.

The finding came as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi stressed the need for proper steps to curb avian flu.

"We need to take sound steps to prevent the disease from spreading and the spreading of concerns about it," Koizumi told reporters when asked about the bird flu outbreak in Kyoto.

He said he wanted businesses to be on guard for signs of the disease and to take care to determine when they needed to notify the authorities.

Japan's first outbreak of the flu hit the southwestern prefecture of Yamaguchi. The second outbreak was in the Oita prefecture on the island of Kyushu, across a narrow body of water from the site of the first outbreak.

Source: eFeedLink - 2nd March 2004

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