Bird flu's spread to Hokkaido sparks culling of 210,000 chickens

The Japan Times 

Japan has begun slaughtering about 210,000 farm birds in northern Hokkaido to contain another outbreak of highly contagious bird flu, an official said Sunday. It is the fifth mass cull this winter, with hundreds of officials working to prevent the virulent H5 strain detected at several farms nationwide from spreading. Just weeks earlier, outbreaks on Honshu led to a cull of 550,000 chickens in the city of Niigata and 23,000 ducks in Aomori Prefecture. Authorities have also banned the transport of poultry and related products in areas close to the affected farms, while sterilizing the main roads leading to them. But progress in stemming the Hokkaido outbreak has been slow, with just 32,310 chickens at the infected farm in the town of Shimzu culled as of Saturday evening, local officials said in a statement.

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