Alexa

Latest bird flu outbreak in Japan from family of viruses that includes deadly H5N1

Latest bird flu outbreak in Japan from family of viruses that includes deadly H5N1

Experts have determined that the H5 family of bird flu viruses was responsible for the recent deaths of more than a thousand chickens at a Japanese farm, an official said Thursday, amid fears of another large outbreak of bird flu in the country's main chicken-producing region.
It was still unclear whether the virus was the virulent H5N1 type that is dangerous to humans, a Miyazaki prefectural health official said on condition of anonymity, citing agency policy.
More than 1,300 chickens have died since Monday at a farm in Miyazaki's Hyuga City. Officials have sent virus samples from some of the dead birds to a national laboratory near Tokyo, prefecture official Hisanori 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 any remaining live chickens or eggs.
Ogura said officials believe the latest chicken deaths are not related to the earlier outbreak because the two locations are about 60 kilometers (40 miles) apart and people and goods do not frequently move between them.
The H5N1 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.