The bird flu virus detected at a second bird flu-hit poultry farm in Tanba, Kyoto Prefecture, is of the highly contagious H5N1 strain, the National Institute of Animal Health said Monday.

H5N1 was detected at the first farm in the town, meaning there is a higher possibility that the virus spread from Asada Nosan Funai Farm to the Takada farm.

The Funai farm failed to alert authorities of the bird flu outbreak even after a week’s time and after birds died at the farm by the thousands. Local authorities inspected the farm Feb. 27 based on an anonymous tip.

Preliminary tests Wednesday on the dead chickens at the family-run Takada farm, about 5 km from the Funai farm, were positive for bird flu.

Meanwhile, crows found dead at the poultry farm and in a nearby town last week were confirmed Monday to be infected with H5 avian influenza, the agriculture ministry said.

The strain was detected in a test by the animal health institute on samples taken from two crows. The virus is the same general strain found in chickens at the farm, it said.

It is the first case in Japan of the virus having been detected in wild birds.

The birds were among four crows found dead Friday. Two were found at Asada Nosan Funai Farm in the town of Tanba, where thousands of chickens had died before authorities were alerted to the disease.

The others were found some 8 km to 9 km away, in the nearby township of Sonobe.

A highly contagious strain of avian influenza was detected in chickens at the Funai farm on Feb. 27.

Chickens kept at another farm some 5 km away have also tested positive for the virus.

Japan’s first case of bird flu in 79 years was detected at a poultry farm in Yamaguchi Prefecture in January. The second outbreak occurred in February among bantams kept as pets in Oita Prefecture. Both cases have been found to involve the H5N1 strain.

No human infections have yet been confirmed in Japan.


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