SENDAI – The chicken cull sparked by the nation’s latest bird flu outbreaks fell short of the originally planned goal of 300,000 Sunday as authorities in Miyagi and Chiba prefectures opted to settle for roughly 209,000 and 62,000 chickens, respectively.
The two prefectures north of Tokyo were spurred into action by outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5 strain of bird flu at local poultry farms.
Agricultural officials in Chiba finished their cull on Saturday.
The Miyagi Prefectural Government will bury the carcasses underground and disinfect the poultry houses, officials said. It initially planned to kill 220,000 chickens but later reduced it by about 11,000.
The two culls began Friday, with help from Self-Defense Forces personnel.
Since November, the H5 virus has devastated poultry farms in Niigata, Aomori and Miyazaki prefectures as well as Hokkaido.
According to the Miyagi Prefectural Government, a total of 96 chickens were found dead over a three-day period through Thursday at a poultry farm in Kurihara. Six tested positive for bird flu in a preliminary screening.
In Chiba, 118 chickens were found dead over the same three-day period at a farm in Asahi and 10 tested positive in a preliminary test.
Subsequent generic exams detected the highly virulent H5N6 strain of avian influenza in both cases.
TOKYO – Japanese authorities announced on Friday that some 220,000 more birds in the northeast of the country have been slaughtered due to an outbreak of bird flu that has reappeared since the end of 2016.
The latest outbreak was detected on a farm in Miyagi prefecture after hundreds of dead chickens were analyzed throughout the week and were subsequently found that they were infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5.
Regional authorities on Friday began slaughtering all the birds on the farm with help from the Japan Self-Defense Forces, a process that will continue until Sunday.
In addition, the transport of birds and eggs within a radius of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) around the three affected farms has been prohibited, state media NHK television said.
According to the NHK, Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai said at a press conference that this is the first outbreak of bird flu detected on a farm in this prefecture.
The outbreak of the virus in this northeastern region follows outbreaks in the country’s southwest, in Miyazaki in January and in Saga in February.
The number of birds slaughtered in Japan has reached around 1.39 million so far since the bird flu was again detected in the country in November 2016 after the 2014 outbreak, prompting the Ministry of Environment to raise the alert to the highest level.