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Officials isolate virus in latest chicken deaths in southern Japan, suspect bird flu

Officials isolate virus in latest chicken deaths in southern Japan, suspect bird flu

Experts isolated a suspected bird flu virus Thursday from some of the hundreds of poultry that died at a Japanese farm, officials said, amid fears of an outbreak in the country's main chicken-producing region.
The recent spate of poultry deaths may have been caused the deadly H5N1 virus, or another bird flu strain, Miyazaki prefecture (state) official Hisanori Ogura said, adding that preliminary test results were expected within a day.
More than 1,300 chickens have died in a suspected new bird flu outbreak since Monday at the farm in Miyazaki's Hyuga City. Officials have sent a virus sample isolated from some of the dead birds to a national laboratory near Tokyo, Ogura said.
In another Miyazaki town earlier this month, 4,000 chickens died from the H5N1 strain.
Local authorities have barred the Hyuga farm from shipping out any remaining live chickens or eggs.
Ogura said officials believe the latest chicken deaths are not related to the outbreak of bird flu in the town of Kiyotake, because the two places are about 60 kilometers (40 miles) apart, and people and goods do not frequently move between them.
The HN51 virus has ravaged poultry stocks in Asia since 2003 and has killed at least 163 people around the world, according to the World Health Organization. There has been one confirmed human H5N1 infection in Japan, but no reported human deaths.
Bird flu remains hard for humans to catch, but international experts fear it may mutate into a form that could spread easily between humans and potentially kill millions around the world
Miyazaki, about 900 kilometers (560 miles) southwest of Tokyo, is Japan's main chicken-producing region.


Updated : 2021-06-13 02:16 GMT+08:00