Japan to cull 90,000 more chickens after bird flu outbreak detected

Japan will cull 90,000 more chickens after a bird flu outbreak at a farm in northern Japan, authorities said Tuesday. A virus of the H5 strain was detected among chickens at Tsukuba farm in Ibaraki prefecture (state), about 100 kilometers (65 miles) north of Tokyo, Ibaraki said in a statement. About 90,000 chickens at the farm will be culled to stem the outbreak, and the prefecture will carry out further tests to determine the exact strain of the virus, the statement said.

Hundreds of thousands of birds have already been destroyed at dozens of other Ibaraki farms over the past few months following outbreaks of the H5N2 virus.

Japanese officials have said the H5N2 variety has never been detected in humans. A more dangerous strain, the H5N1, has killed at least 70 people in Asia since late 2003.

Bird flu hit Japan last year for the first time in decades. There has been one confirmed human case involving the H5N1 virus, but no reported human deaths, reports the AP. I.L.

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