• Jiji


The Akita Prefectural Government said Wednesday that bird flu infections believed to be from a highly pathogenic virus strain have been confirmed at a chicken farm in the city of Yokote in the prefecture.

The outbreak is the first to be confirmed in the nation this season. All of some 143,000 chickens at the farm will be culled. The prefecture has requested the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces troops for help.

According to the prefectural government, a local livestock hygiene center received a report Tuesday that a number of chickens had died at the farm. After a simple bird flu test showed positive results in some of the dead birds, the prefectural government found through a genetic test that the virus is believed to be highly pathogenic.

Some 190 birds died at the farm between Monday and Tuesday, and the virus was detected in 12 of them, the prefecture said. The prefectural government banned six farms within a 10-kilometer radius of the affected facility from transferring their chickens and eggs.

In the wake of the bird flu outbreak, the government held a meeting of relevant Cabinet ministers Wednesday morning, with the participants agreeing to take all possible measures to prevent any further spread of infections.

“Infections could possibly occur in other areas,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at the meeting, calling on local governments across the country and other relevant organizations to instruct poultry farms to take full precautions.

Before the meeting, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed the agriculture ministry and other government agencies to take thorough measures to prevent the outbreak from spreading.

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