Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bird Flu - You won't believe how many chickens!!!

Bird flu strikes farm in Kagoshima / Devastating blow for prefecture, farm in close proximity to crane site

A poultry farm where chickens were culled Wednesday morning in Izumi, Kagoshima Prefecture
KAGOSHIMA--A strain of the highly virulent avian flu virus was detected Wednesday in chickens at a poultry farm in Izumi, Kagoshima Prefecture, according to the agriculture ministry and the Kagoshima prefectural government.
The prefecture culled 8,600 chickens at the poultry farm and ordered other farms within a 10-kilometer radius to refrain from transporting chickens and eggs. The area has 5.22 million chickens in 162 poultry farms.
According to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, the avian flu outbreak was confirmed at the poultry farm, which is located near the country's largest wintering site for cranes.
Since December, six hooded cranes on the Izumi Plains have been confirmed infected with the highly infectious H5N1 strain of bird flu. The farm is located about 2.3 kilometers southeast from the Izumi City Crane Center.
On Tuesday afternoon, the farm reported to the prefecture's livestock hygiene service center that birds were showing signs of avian flu infection.
Having confirmed the death of 85 chickens at the farm, local government officials conducted preliminary testing for avian flu on nine chickens, including dead birds, and found eight tested positive for bird flu.
According to the farm, the chickens started dying around Jan. 20. Thirty died on Sunday, another 30 died on Monday and a total of 160 had died by Tuesday, the farm's owner was quoted as saying.
The prefectural government conducted genetic testing Tuesday evening and detected the highly pathogenic H5 strain of the bird flu virus in the farm's dead chickens early Wednesday.
Following confirmation of the infection, the prefecture started a mass cull of the chickens from early Wednesday, which was completed by around 8 a.m. All the infected chickens were expected to be buried near the farm on the day.
The Kagoshima case marks the fourth avian flu outbreak this winter, following outbreaks in Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture, in November and in Miyazaki and Shintomicho, both in Miyazaki Prefecture, earlier this month.
The Kagoshima prefectural government has started checking for signs of bird flu in other poultry farms in the area.
Kagoshima Prefecture is known as the nation's largest livestock-producing prefecture. According to the farm ministry, the prefecture's combined output of poultry farming--both broilers and eggs--was the nation's largest in 2009. The prefecture was ranked first in the production of broilers at 50.5 billion yen and third in the production of eggs at 24.6 billion yen.
"Izumi is one of the most famous poultry farming areas in the nation. If the bird flu problem lingers, this will likely adversely affect the distribution of chickens and eggs in the country," said an official of the ministry's animal hygiene section.
(Jan. 27, 2011)

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