Bird Flu Spreading in Western Japan


Tokyo, Dec. 3 (Jiji Press)--Highly pathogenic avian influenza has been spreading in western Japan since the first case at a poultry farm in the country in two years and 10 months was confirmed in the city of Mitoyo in Kagawa Prefecture on Nov. 5.

In Kagawa, a total of nine chicken farms in Mitoyo and one in the city of Higashikagawa have been hit by bird flu outbreaks. Avian flu has also been confirmed at one chicken farm each in the city of Awaji in Hyogo Prefecture, the city of Munakata in Fukuoka Prefecture, the cities of Hyuga and Miyakonojo in Miyazaki Prefecture, and the town of Tsuno in Miyazaki. A total of more than two million chickens are set to be culled.

Miyazaki is known as one of the biggest chicken-farming areas in Japan, with more than 160 farms located in a 10-kilometer radius of the affected farm in Tsuno. The outbreaks sent shock waves through the local industry as they came at a time when the prefecture was working to promote exports of local brand chickens.

Local communities across the country are increasingly alert, with migratory birds set to fly to Japan in earnest toward winter.

Noting that avian flu outbreaks are hitting many areas in Europe, an official of the Japanese agriculture ministry said that migratory birds from Eurasia are highly likely to have brought bird flu viruses to Japan.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press