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Food & Health : Biological Agents Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM


Japan confirms third bird flu in poultry
By Ben Wasserman - foodconsumer.org
Jan 29, 2007 - 9:03:48 AM

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Japan confirmed a third outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm, about 310 kilometers southeast of Tokyo, but it was unclear whether the type of virus is a H5N1 strain, the agriculture ministry said on Monday.

The ministry issued a statement saying that a H5 bird flu virus strain was detected among chickens at the farm in the city of Takahashi in Okayama Prefecture.

The bird flu outbreak has killed 49 out of 12,000 birds since Friday.

But no human case was reported in this and two other outbreaks of bird flu this month.   The last human case of H5N1 was reported three years ago.

The ministry has ordered all chickens at the affected farm to be culled and the site to be disinfected, according to the ministry’s statement.

Additionally, eighteen other farms keeping 950,000 chickens within 10 kilometers of the infected farm have been isolated, and road disinfection stations are being set up.

In the meantime, the ministry said movement of people and goods within 6 miles of the affected farm was restricted.

Earlier this month, Japan reported two H5N1 outbreaks among poultry in the southwestern prefecture of Miyazaki.

The H5N1 virus in the two outbreaks was suspected of being the Qinghai Lake sub-strain that has spread to the Middle East and several eastern European countries over the last 18 months.

The virus is still highly active in Japan this year. In 2004, the country reported a total of four H5N1 outbreaks between January and March.

H5N1 is a threat primarily to birds.  More than 200 million birds worldwide have died from the virus or been slaughtered because of the virus since 2003.

The bird flu virus has infected 267 people in ten countries worldwide and killed more than 161 people, according to the World Health Organization.


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