Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tick, Tick, Tick - H5N1 Virus Hits The Rising Sun - UPDATED

Workers bury bags of slaughtered chickens from the Sato Broiler farm at a mountain near the farm in Hyuga, Miyazaki Prefecture, on Saturday. Image Credit: KYODO PHOTO

Tick, Tick, Tick - H5N1 Virus Hits The Land Of The Rising Sun

It looks as though that Chicken Teriyaki may be a little more difficult to come by in a couple of "Prefectures" (counties) in southwestern Japan.

Japan has been fairly safe from large scale bird flu infections throughout the history of avian flu spreading in populations of farm raised birds.

So this latest event in the "2006-2007" H5N1 flu season is troubling even though no human infections have been reported.

This from The Japan Times -

Bird influenza feared at farm in Okayama
The Japan Times - Sunday, Jan. 28, 2007

OKAYAMA (Kyodo) The agriculture ministry announced Saturday that bird flu is suspected in the deaths of 22 chickens at a poultry farm in Takahashi, Okayama Prefecture.

The word came just hours after the ministry confirmed that the deadly H5N1 strain was detected in the second outbreak of bird flu this month in Miyazaki Prefecture.

The farm in Takahashi raises around 12,000 chickens. Two died Friday and 20 died Saturday, according to the ministry. It is having a laboratory conduct further analysis to nail down the precise cause.

Until an outbreak of bird flu is confirmed, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry and the Okayama Prefectural Government are planning to request that farms in adjacent areas do not move livestock, officials said.

In the first case this month, the ministry confirmed that the H5N1 strain of bird flu was found in dead chickens at a farm in Kiyotake, Miyazaki Prefecture.

On Saturday, the ministry also confirmed the H5N1 strain was found in dead chickens at a poultry farm in Hyuga, Miyazaki Prefecture, in the second outbreak this year.

A government lab analyzed samples from 3,000 chickens that died at the Sato Broiler farm in Hyuga. The farm had a total of 52,500 chickens, with a large number of deaths first reported there Monday.

The analysis found that the birds had been infected with H5N1, the agricultural ministry said in a statement.

The Miyazaki Prefectural Government started culling about 50,000 chickens raised on the Hyuga farm on Friday and continued the work Saturday.

The Hyuga case followed the highly virulent case of bird flu confirmed at a poultry farm in Kiyotake, about 60 km south of Hyuga.

The government confirmed Japan's first outbreak of avian flu in 79 years in January 2004 from chickens that started dying in late 2003 at a farm in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Reports of infections of birds have been sporadic since then in Japan -- one H5N1 case in Oita Prefecture and another in Kyoto, both in February 2003, with the last report before the latest outbreaks being a weaker H5N2 strain infection in Ibaraki Prefecture in June 2005.

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Two previous cases have been in Miyazaki prefecture. Image Credit: Associated Press


Officials in Japan have confirmed a third outbreak of bird flu
Although they are still determining if it is the H5N1 strain dangerous to humans.
BBC - Monday, 29 January 2007, 06:02 GMT

About 40 chickens have died on a farm in Takahashi, in Okayama prefecture.

Officials have ordered all poultry there to be culled, and the movement of people and goods restricted.

Two bird flu outbreaks earlier this month in the southern prefecture of Miyazaki have already been confirmed as the H5N1 strain of the disease.

The Japanese authorities have already determined that the new case of bird flu belongs to the virulent H5 family of the virus, but further tests are needed to find out if it is H5N1, the strain potentially deadly to humans.

Officials, however, are taking no chances. They are due to start culling all 12,000 birds at the affected Takahashi farm as early as Tuesday.

Other farms in a 10 km (six-mile) radius have been banned from transporting chickens and eggs, a ministry official told reporters.

Thousands of chickens have already been killed in Japan's main chicken-producing region of Miyazaki, following two H5N1 outbreaks in two separate towns there earlier this month.

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