71,000 chickens culled in Saga as nation marks 10th bird flu case this winter

Kyodo, JIJI

The culling of roughly 71,000 chickens was completed over the weekend at two poultry farms in the town of Kohoku, Saga Prefecture, marking Japan’s 10th case of bird flu this winter.

The prefectural government will take all necessary measures to prevent the infection from spreading, including by sterilizing infected farms and burying the dead birds and about 770,000 eggs.

The cause of the outbreak was confirmed Saturday as the H5 avian flu virus. It was detected in dead birds at one of the farms through genetic testing.

Prefectural officials started culling the birds Saturday night and finished the job Sunday night in an operation that also involved Self-Defense Forces personnel.

Using on-site inspections and telephone discussions, it was determined that operations at other poultry farms within 10 km of the two infected farms, which are run by the same person, are normal, the officials said.

Since November, the virus has damaged poultry farms in many parts of Japan, including Niigata, Aomori, Hokkaido, Gifu and Miyazaki prefectures.