Farm ministry holds emergency meeting on bird flu epidemic

Tokyo, Jan 30 (Kyodo) The farm ministry urged prefecturalofficials at an emergency meeting here to make more efforts tobring the spread of bird flu under control, while some 96,600chickens were culled in Miyazaki Prefecture and highlylethal viruses were confirmed in Aichi and Kagoshimaprefectures.

At the gathering of senior farm officials of prefecturalgovernments from across Japan yesterday, Agriculture, Forestryand Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano warned, ''''It will deal ablow to local economies if the spread continues.''''

''''Please implement thorough guidance to ensure that everyfarm complies with sanitary control rules'''' under the law oncontrol of infectious diseases in domestic animals, he said.

In Miyazaki Prefecture, all the roughly 90,000 broilerchickens had been killed at a poultry farm in the town ofKawaminami by yesterday afternoon, after about 6,600 otherchickens at another farm in Nobeoka were culled during themorning, as the season''s fourth and fifth bird fluoutbreaks in the southwestern Japan prefecture were confirmedthere earlier in the day.

The Aichi prefectural government, meanwhile, said it hasconfirmed that the highly pathogenic H5 virus found Thursdayamong chickens at a farm in Toyohashi was highly virulent.

The Kagoshima prefectural government said the avian fluvirus detected in chickens at farm in Izumi was the H5N1strain that is closely related to viruses found in wild craneswintering in the city and chickens in Miyazaki and Aichiprefectures.

Following the season''s first avian flu outbreak at aJapanese poultry farm last November in Shimane Prefecture,infections have been confirmed this month at three other farmsplus a meat-processing center in Miyazaki Prefecture and afarm in Kagoshima Prefecture before Aichi''s case, amid thespread of the H5N1 virus among wild birds. (Kyodo)

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