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Deadly H5N1 virus confirmed in southern Japan bird flu outbreak

Deadly H5N1 virus confirmed in southern Japan bird flu outbreak

Tests confirmed that the deadly H5N1 virus caused an outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm in southern Japan earlier this week, 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), Japan's main chicken-producing region, and 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, 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.
About 21,000 birds had been destroyed by Saturday afternoon, Takase said.
Another 50,000 chickens at a neighboring farm will also be killed as a precaution, Takase said.
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 : 2021-08-03 18:02 GMT+08:00