Japan bird flu outbreak: 4,000 chickens culled at poultry farm

There is believed to be no risk of the virus spreading to humans

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The Independent Online

Japan has culled around 4,000 chickens following an outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm in the southwest of the country.

Three birds tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5 strain of avian influenza at the site in Miyazaki prefecture, and an official said on Tuesday that all birds were subsequently slaughtered.

The local government also asked nearby poultry farms to restrict movements of livestock, the official said.

There is believed to be no risk of the virus spreading to humans through consumption of chicken eggs or meat, he said.

Miyazaki Prefecture is Japan's top producer of broiler chickens, raising about 28 million birds, or around 20 per cent of all chickens in Japan, according to an official at the Agricultural Ministry.

In April, Japan confirmed its first bird flu case in livestock since 2011 at a farm in Kumamoto prefecture, southwestern Japan.

Bird flu, or avian flu, is an infectious viral illness that spreads among birds. In rare cases it can affect humans and two types have caused serious concern in recent years. These are the H5N1 and H7N9 viruses.

Last month 6,000 birds were culled at a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire after an outbreak of avian flu. However, the strain was not deemed a threat to humans.

Additional reporting by Reuters