Japan holds emergency meeting on bird flu epidemic
The Japanese farm ministry urged prefectural officials, at an emergency meeting in Tokyo, to make more efforts to bring the spread of bird flu under control.
Meanwhile some 96,600 chickens were culled in the Miyazaki Prefecture and highly lethal viruses were confirmed in the Aichi and Kagoshima prefectures.
At the gathering of senior farm officials of prefectural governments from across Japan on Saturday, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano warned, "It will deal a blow to local economies if the spread continues." "Please implement thorough guidance to ensure that every farm complies with sanitary control rules", under the law on control of infectious diseases in domestic animals, he said.
In Miyazaki Prefecture, all the roughly 90,000 broiler chickens had been killed at a poultry farm in the town of Kawaminami by Saturday afternoon, after about 6,600 other chickens at another farm in Nobeoka were culled during the morning, as the season's fourth and fifth bird flu outbreaks in the southwestern Japan prefecture were confirmed earlier in the day.
The Aichi prefectural government, meanwhile, said it has confirmed that the highly pathogenic H5 virus found on Thursday among chickens at a farm in Toyohashi was highly virulent.
The Kagoshima prefectural government said the avian flu virus detected in chickens at a farm in Izumi was the H5N1 strain that is closely related to viruses found in wild cranes wintering in the city.
Following the season's first avian flu outbreak at a Japanese poultry farm last November in Shimane Prefecture, infections have been confirmed this month at three other farms plus a meat processing center in Miyazaki Prefecture and a farm in Kagoshima Prefecture before Aichi's case, amid the spread of the H5N1 virus among wild birds.
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