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Japan Confirms Season’s First Bird Flu Case in Saga (Update 1)


TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A bird flu case has been confirmed at a chicken farm in Saga Prefecture, the agriculture ministry said Saturday, marking the season’s first confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza at a poultry farm in the country.

The Saga prefectural government has started to cull around 40,000 chickens raised at the farm in the city of Kashima.

A genetic test conducted in the early hours of Saturday confirmed the bird flu case at the Kashima farm after an increase in the number of dead chickens there was reported Friday afternoon.

Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi ordered prefectural officials at a meeting Saturday to prevent any spread of bird flu infection, saying, “An initial response is key.”

Last year, Japan confirmed the first bird flu cases of the season in farms in Okayama Prefecture and Hokkaido on Oct. 28. Infection then spread to 26 prefectures, leaving a record high of around 17.71 million chickens culled.

This resulted in a serious shortage in egg supply, causing the average standard price of midsize eggs in the Tokyo area to surge to record high levels of ¥350 per kilogram between April and May this year.