South Korean authorities have culled more than 22.5 million poultry this winter, according to an official, as part of intense efforts to contain its worst bird flu epidemic in recent history that has affected farms across the country. Authorities also plan to kill an additional 2.97 million chickens and ducks across the country in coming days, the country's Yonhap News Agency reported on Saturday. "Korea has suffered from several bird flu outbreaks since 2003. I can tell you this year is the worst year ever," Oh Se-ul, chairman of the Korea Poultry Association, told Al Jazeera. The outbreak - the first in nearly seven months - was caused by the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of bird flu, a new type of virus that was first detected in South Korea.
KUMAMOTO – The Kumamoto Prefectural Government started culling around 93,000 chickens at a poultry farm Tuesday after tests confirmed Japan's latest bird flu outbreak. The farm in the town of Nankan reported to health authorities on Monday afternoon that a group of some 50 chickens was found dead there. Five of the carcasses and two live chickens from the farm tested positive for bird flu in a preliminary examination. In the culling that began in the early morning, as many as 450 personnel, including members of the Self-Defense Forces, were involved at one point. As required by law, the prefectural government conducted on-site inspections at six farms within 3 km of the affected farm.
SENDAI – The chicken cull sparked by the nation's latest bird flu outbreaks fell short of the originally planned goal of 300,000 Sunday as authorities in Miyagi and Chiba prefectures opted to settle for roughly 209,000 and 62,000 chickens, respectively. The two prefectures north of Tokyo were spurred into action by outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5 strain of bird flu at local poultry farms. Agricultural officials in Chiba finished their cull on Saturday. The Miyagi Prefectural Government will bury the carcasses underground and disinfect the poultry houses, officials said. It initially planned to kill 220,000 chickens but later reduced it by about 11,000.
MIYAZAKI – The culling of some 122,000 chickens began early Tuesday at a poultry farm in Miyazaki Prefecture where an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5 strain of bird flu has been confirmed. It is the sixth case of bird flu in Japan this winter. Prefectural government officials and Self-Defense Forces personnel were tasked with the work, which was expected to wrap up later Tuesday, in the town of Kawaminami. To prevent the spread of infection, the prefecture imposed a ban on transfers of chickens and eggs in areas within 3 km of the affected farm. Chickens and eggs are banned from being moved out of areas 3 to 10 km from the farm.
The outbreak was confirmed at a poultry farm in Sanuki after chickens tested positive during genetic tests, making it the first bird flu case affecting livestock in Japan this season. The culling operation, which started Thursday night, is to be completed within 24 hours. The central government's task force on the outbreak met Friday at the Prime Minister's Office, while farm ministry officials and epidemiology experts were dispatched to the site to identify the cause. The farm notified the Kagawa Prefectural Government of a suspected bird flu case Wednesday morning, saying 55 chickens at a poultry house had died. Kagawa is known for a thriving poultry industry that raises around 7 million chickens.