91,000 chickens culled amid bird flu outbreak at Japan farm

Tokyo: Japanese authorities on Friday announced the culling of about 91,000 chickens on a farm in southwest Japan where several animals were found to be infected with a highly pathogenic form of the bird flu virus.

The new outbreak has been detected on a farm in Kagawa prefecture of Shikoku Island after it was found that more than 50 dead chickens this week were infected with the highly contagious H5 strain of the virus, Efe news quoted regional authorities as saying.

The culling began shortly before midnight on Thursday and will conclude in about 24 hours and the movement of eggs and animals within a radius of 10 km of the farm has been suspended while the area has been cleaned with disinfectants, reported Japanese news agency Kyodo.

At a press conference following a meeting with Agriculture and Health ministers, government spokesperson, Yoshihide Suga, pointed out the possibility of other cases of bird flu outside the area.

This is the first case of bird flu in Japan this year since the virus appeared in the country in late 2014 forcing the culling of about 1.7 million livestock after a major outbreak in late 2016.