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Japan reports first Avian influenza outbreak

143,000 birds culled
calendar icon 10 November 2021
clock icon 1 minute read

Japan has detected its first outbreak of bird flu for the 2021 winter season, Reuters reports. It has confirms a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza at a poultry farm in the northeast of the country, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.

Officials are preparing to destroy some 143,000 egg-laying chickens on a farm in Yokote city in Akita Prefecture, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Officials have established a 10-km restricted zone around the site.

"Under the current situation in Japan, we do not believe that there is any possibility of avian influenza being transmitted to humans through the consumption of chicken meat or eggs," said ministry officials.

There has been, however, an increase in the number of bird flu-related infections in the people of China this year. China has reported 21 human infections with the H5N6 subtype of Avian influenza in 2021.

According to a World Health Organisation report, a new case of human infection with H5N6 avian influenza was reported from the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China on 26 September. The case is a 66-year-old man from Yongzhou City in Hunan Province. He remains in serious condition and undergoing treatment.

Avian influenza-related human infections are a source of concern for epidemiological experts.

Outbreaks of bird flu have also been reported in recent days and weeks in Europe with farms in Poland the latest locations for infections, totalling 650,000 poultry.

Last winter, Japan had its worst season of winter flu on farms yet, with more than 3 million chickens culled and a quarter of the country's prefectures affected.

Japan has an egg-laying flock of around 185 million hens and a broiler population of 138 million, according to the ministry of agriculture.