• Kyodo

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A national laboratory has confirmed the bird flu virus detected in a crow caught in Osaka Prefecture is the same highly virulent H5N1 strain that hit two poultry farms in neighboring Kyoto Prefecture, lab officials said Monday.

The National Institute of Animal Health in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, has found that the H5N1 strain is the same as the type detected at the Asada Nosan Funai Farm and later at the Takada farm, both in Tanba, Kyoto Prefecture, and other locations in Japan.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said the government would convene a meeting of ministers Tuesday to decide on comprehensive emergency measures to contain the epidemic, including amendments to legislation and aid to poultry farmers.

The Cabinet plans is to finalize some of the measures at a meeting later Tuesday, government officials said.

According to the Osaka Prefectural Government, the ailing crow was found at a house in the city of Ibaraki and brought to a local police station. It died March 7.

The house is located within 30 km of the Funai farm.

Osaka livestock hygiene authorities detected the bird flu virus Wednesday and sent the crow to the institute to identify the virus type.

On Monday, the institute also confirmed the virus detected in another crow is the highly virulent H5 strain and will check whether it is also H5N1.

That crow is one of three found dead in Tanba on Wednesday. The other two have tested negative, according to the Kyoto Prefectural Government.

In Tokyo, Fukuda said the package will include a revision to the Domestic Animal Infectious Disease Control Law and assistance to poultry farmers who are cooperating with shipping restrictions in bird flu-hit areas.

DPJ bird flu package

Staff report The Democratic Party of Japan unveiled Monday a set of measures to prevent the spread of bird flu and compensate poultry farmers hurt by the recent outbreak.

The DPJ’s measures were released a day ahead of the government’s announcement of a similar relief package. The ruling coalition parties — the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito — have each set up a task force to deal with the issue.

The DPJ’s proposal calls for full compensation for farmers forced to dispose of chickens and eggs due to avian influenza.

Governmental financial institutions should also provide loans to farmers and other relevant parties who have suffered losses due to bird flu-related rumors, which have dampened consumption of chicken and eggs, the DPJ said.

It is also calling for the establishment of a special headquarters on epidemic prevention within the government and the reinforcement of legal obligations for farmers and veterinarians to report suspected bird flu cases.

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