News / World

Highly-contagious bird flu found in Japan, culling start

TOKYO — Japanese health authorities have confirmed a highly contagious avian flu strain in poultry in two prefectures in northern Japan, with culling of hundreds of thousands of birds starting at the affected farms.

The government confirmed Tuesday that the highly virulent H5 strain was detected in dozens of birds found dead at a chicken farm in Niigata. Dead ducks at a farm in another prefecture of Aomori also tested H5 positive.

Culling of about 310,000 birds began Tuesday at the Niigata farm and will continue through Friday. Workers in hazmat suits dug holes and dumped dead birds in them to contain the spread of virus. About 165,000 ducks in Aomori were also being culled.

Officials restricted the movements of poultry and eggs within 3 kilometres (5 miles) of the infected farms.