Japan to cull 180,000 chickens after detecting signs of bird flu

Authorities have detected signs of bird flu at a farm in northern Japan and plan to kill 180,000 chickens, a local official said. The latest Japanese outbreak occurred at a farm in Ibaraki prefecture (state), northeast of Tokyo, according to Yoshiko Otani of the prefectural livestock farming section.

Antibody tests showed the chickens had been exposed to a bird flu virus from the H5 family but survived, Ibaraki said in a statement. No active bird flu viruses were found. Authorities have already culled around 1.5 million birds in the prefecture after finding signs of the disease at other farms.

Bird flu hit Japan last year for the first time in decades. Officials say the strain that hit the country, H5N2, is less virulent than the H5N1 variety that has ravaged Southeast Asia since 2003 and killed at least 62 people there.


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