Ja­pan culling 210,000 birds amid spread­ing avian flu

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Ja­pan has be­gun slaugh­ter­ing about 210,000 farm birds in north­ern Hokkaido to con­tain an­other out­break of a highly con­ta­gious strain of avian flu, an of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day. It is the fifth mass cull this win­ter in Ja­pan with hun­dreds of of­fi­cials work­ing to pre­vent the spread of the vir­u­lent H5 strain, which has been de­tected at sev­eral farms across the coun­try. Just weeks ear­lier, out­breaks led to a cull of 550,000 chick­ens in the cen­tral city of Ni­igata and 23,000 ducks in the Ao­mori pre­fec­ture south of Hokkaido.

Au­thor­i­ties have also banned the trans­port of poul­try and poul­try prod­ucts in ar­eas close to the af­fected farms, while ster­il­iz­ing main roads lead­ing to them.

But progress has been slow this time with just 32,310 chick­ens at the farm in Shimzu town in north­ern Hokkaido culled by Satur­day evening, lo­cal of­fi­cials said in a state­ment. “We con­tinue to cull the chick­ens to­day but the work is dif­fi­cult as the air tem­per­a­ture falls to some -20 de­gree Celsius at night” in ad­di­tion to fallen snow that is an­other ob­sta­cle, an of­fi­cial told AFP. Be­fore the cur­rent out­breaks, Ja­pan’s last con­firmed case of avian flu at a farm was in Jan 2015.

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