Japan ordered the culling of 326,500 poultry after confirming bird flu in two northern Japanese farms, marking the worst outbreak of the disease since 2011, according to the Agriculture Ministry.
Authorities began culling about 310,000 chickens in one of the farms in Niigata prefecture on Tuesday, a day after starting on 16,500 ducks in another farm in Aomori prefecture. In both farms the H-5 avian influenza virus was detected, the ministry said in statements.
To prevent the disease from spreading, the government also restricted shipments of poultry, meat and eggs within a radius of 10 kilometers from the farms, affecting more than 500,000 flock in the region. It’s the first bird-flu outbreak in Japanese poultry since January 2015.
“We are aware of the risk that bird flu may break out in other areas," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday. “Containing the bird flu is an important part of our risk management."
In 2011, Japan culled more than 1 million poultry to contain the disease. In South Korea, authorities last week confirmed a case of highly pathogenic H5N6 avian influenza virus at a poultry farm in north Chungcheong province.
"We are investigating the route of the infection," said Yoshikatsu Aida, deputy director at Japanese agriculture ministry’s animal health division.