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Japan halfway through bird flu checks on farms

by 5m Editor
19 August 2005, at 12:00am

JAPAN - Japanese authorities have completed roughly half of their random nationwide inspections for bird flu on farms, a Farm Ministry official said on Friday, a day after such checks revealed a new case of the disease in the country.

Japan halfway through bird flu checks on farms - JAPAN - Japanese authorities have completed roughly half of their random nationwide inspections for bird flu on farms, a Farm Ministry official said on Friday, a day after such checks revealed a new case of the disease in the country.

The inspections, due to be completed by Sept. 16, were launched after a weak strain of bird flu was detected in late June on some farms in Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. "I think the checks have been conducted on a little more than half of the farms," the official said. Authorities have so far examined 1,270 farms across the country, he said.

On Thursday, authorities said they found a new case of bird flu in Saitama prefecture, a region neighbouring the capital.

It was the first time the checks had revealed a case of bird flu in the country. Authorities are conducting further tests to determine the details of the latest case, which experts say is likely to be the weak H5N2 strain.

As a precaution, all 98,300 chickens on the farm in Saitama will be slaughtered, and restrictions placed on the movement of eggs and chicken in a 5-kilometre (3-mile) radius around the farm to prevent the spread of the disease.

Chickens on the farms in Ibaraki were found with the weak H5N2 strain.

Early last year, Japan reported its first outbreak of avian flu in 79 years when it found chickens infected with the virulent H5N1 strain.

That strain has been blamed for the deaths of more than 50 people in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.

Source: Reuters - 19th August 2005

5m Editor