MIYAZAKI - The Miyazaki Prefectural Government had slaughtered 42,000 chickens on a farm in the city of Miyazaki by Monday morning after a genetic test of dead fowl confirmed the presence of a highly pathogenic bird flu virus.
Chickens at the poultry farm in the Uranomyo area in the city tested positive for the H5 strain of the bird flu, the prefectural government said Sunday
The prefecture set up 10 sterilization points on roads around the affected farm.
This is the second time a highly pathogenic bird flu strain has been confirmed in Japan this year. On Dec. 16, the H5N8 virus was confirmed at a poultry farm in Nobeoka, also in Miyazaki Prefecture, where about 4,000 chickens were culled.
A prefectural official said that it was uncertain whether the two cases are linked.
At around 11:30 a.m. Sunday, the poultry farm in Uranomyo first reported to the Miyazaki government that chicken deaths seemed to be on the rise there. The prefecture conducted a simple test on five dead chickens and five that were alive, and all of the dead chickens tested positive for bird flu.
Chickens within a radius of 3 km of the outbreak have been prohibited from being moved and shipments of another 1.93 million chickens in areas within 10 km have been banned.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed related ministries to make sure proper quarantine measures were being taken. The central government was planning to dispatch an emergency assistance team to the area.
Prefectural and industry officials expressed shock at the latest outbreak, whose impact would be far larger than the Nobeoka case. The officials were especially shocked because the Nobeoka outbreak had just been nearly contained.
“Unlike the first case (in Nobeoka), the bird flu this time will involve far bigger numbers of chickens and farms. We need to move quickly,” Miyazaki Gov. Shunji Kono said at an emergency meeting Sunday.
“We really didn’t want the second case to take place,” said Tetsuro Nakada, a prefectural official. “We must do our best to keep the virus from spreading.”