Emergency bird flu meeting held

Kyodo News

The farm ministry urged prefectural officials at an emergency meeting Saturday to make more efforts to bring the spread of bird flu under control, after some 96,600 chickens were culled in Miyazaki Prefecture and highly lethal viruses were confirmed in Aichi and Kagoshima prefectures.

At the gathering of senior farm officials from prefectural governments nationwide, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano warned, “It will deal a blow to local economies if the spread continues.

“Please implement thorough guidance to ensure that every farm complies with sanitary control rules” under the law on the control of infectious diseases in domestic animals, he said.

In Miyazaki Prefecture, all the roughly 90,000 broiler chickens at a poultry farm in the town of Kawaminami had been culled by Saturday afternoon, following the slaughter of about 6,600 chickens at another farm in Nobeoka in the morning, as the season’s fourth and fifth bird flu outbreaks in the prefecture were confirmed earlier in the day.

The Aichi Prefectural Government, meanwhile, said it has confirmed that the highly pathogenic H5 virus found Thursday among chickens at a farm in Toyohashi was highly virulent.

The Kagoshima Prefectural Government said the avian flu virus detected in chickens at a farm in Izumi was the H5N1 strain that is closely related to viruses found in wild cranes wintering in the city and in chickens in Miyazaki and Aichi prefectures.