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Tokyo records new daily high of 570 virus infections on Nov. 27

46,000 chickens culled after 2nd bird flu outbreak in Japan this season

TAKAMATSU -- The culling of some 46,000 chickens following a new outbreak of avian flu was completed by the morning of Nov. 9 at a poultry farm in the city of Higashikagawa in the western Japan prefecture of Kagawa, the prefectural government announced.

    The outbreak, apparently of a highly pathogenic strain of the bird flu virus, was announced the previous day.

    This photo provided by the Kagawa Prefectural Government shows workers proceeding with the slaughter of chickens at a poultry farm where an avian flu outbreak occurred, in the Kagawa Prefecture city of Higashikagawa in western Japan on Nov. 8, 2020.

    A separate outbreak was recorded on Nov. 5 at a poultry farm in the city of Mitoyo in the prefecture, but the two farms are over 50 kilometers away from each other, and the prefectural government believes it is unlikely the bird flu virus was carried from one place to the other by people or vehicles. It is the second time this season for avian flu to be detected at a poultry farm in the country.

    According to the prefectural government, the farm where the poultry outbreak occurred had raised the chickens in three coops. On the morning of Nov. 7, 19 birds in one coop were found dead with symptoms raising suspicions of bird flu, such as their combs turning a dark color, so the farm contacted the prefectural government. The birds were confirmed to have contracted the virus via a simple test, and infection was confirmed through genetic testing by a national government organization on the morning of Nov. 8. There were no windows allowing wild birds to fly into the coop from outside, and previously during a yearly inspection it was said that no abnormalities were found at the farm.

    People dressed in protective gear guard the entry of a poultry farm in the western Japan city of Higashikagawa in Kagawa Prefecture alongside no-entry signs shortly before midday on Nov. 8, 2020. (Mainichi/Satoshi Kawahara)

    The prefectural government is burying the culled chickens on nearby land owned by the poultry farm, and the work is expected to be completed around Nov. 10. There are 12 poultry farms within a 10-kilometer radius of the Higashikagawa farm, which keeps some 675,000 chickens in total. The prefectural government has issued movement restrictions forbidding poultry farms within a 3-kilometer radius from moving chickens or eggs outside the facilities, and is also restricting poultry farms within a 10-kilometer radius from taking their chickens and eggs outside that sphere.

    The highly pathogenic bird flu strain that broke out at the farm in Mitoyo resulted in the culling of all chickens there, some 317,000 in total. This work was completed by Nov. 8. Burial of those chickens is due to be completed in mid-November.

    (Japanese original by Yudai Katami, Takamatsu Bureau)

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