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Deadly H5N1 virus confirmed in western Japan bird flu outbreak

Deadly H5N1 virus confirmed in western Japan bird flu outbreak

Tests confirmed that an outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm in western Japan was caused by the virulent H5N1 virus, the agriculture ministry said Saturday.
A state laboratory analyzed samples from 3,000 chickens that died at a farm in Hyuga in Miyazaki prefecture (state) and that found the birds had been infected with H5N1, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in a statement.
Earlier this month, some 4,000 chickens died from H5N1 in another town in Miyazaki, Japan's main chicken-producing region, about 900 kilometers (560 miles) southwest of Tokyo.
Authorities began slaughtering the remaining 49,000 chickens at the Hyuga farm on Friday, prefectural official Hisao Takase said.
Another 50,000 chickens at a neighboring farm will also be killed as a precaution, another Miyazaki official, Mamoru Tsunekichi, said Friday.
The H5N1 virus has killed or forced the slaughter of millions of birds across Asia since late 2003, and caused the deaths of at least 163 people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Japan has confirmed only one human H5N1 infection, and no human deaths.
The bird flu virus remains hard for humans to catch, but international experts fear it may mutate into a form that could spread easily among humans and possibly kill millions around the world.


Updated : 2021-08-01 05:33 GMT+08:00