Bird flu outbreak hits northeastern Japan

AOMORI (Jiji Press) — The northeastern Japan prefecture of Aomori said Sunday that it has confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza believed to be highly pathogenic at a chicken farm in the town of Sannohe.

It is the prefecture’s first bird flu outbreak at a chicken farm since 2016.

At the Sannohe farm, about 7,000 birds will be culled.

The prefectural government has banned 26 farms within 10 kilometers of the Sannohe farm from moving eggs and chickens out of the area. Two of the 26 are in the neighboring prefecture of Iwate.

The Sannohe farm reported an increase in the deaths of chickens there to a local livestock health center Saturday.

Infections were confirmed through simple testing, and subsequent genetic testing found that the virus is likely to be highly pathogenic, according to the prefecture.