7 Million+ Birds Culled in Japan After Severe Bird Flu Outbreak
Japan has been hit by a major avian influenza outbreak, particularly in the west of the country. During the 2020/2021 season, since the first case confirmed in November 2020 at an egg-laying chicken farm in Mitoyo, Kagawa Prefecture, there have been a further 41 farms affected in 17 prefectures (as of February 2, 2021) with 7.1 million birds culled. This is a record high for a single season. Chicken farms have been most affected, including those for egg-laying birds and broilers for meat production, as well as those for raising chicks. On January 21, an outbreak was also confirmed at a farm producing duck meat in Chiba Prefecture.
A poultry farm where avian influenza was confirmed on February 2 was one of the largest in Ibaraki Prefecture and all 840,000 of its egg-laying hens were culled. This is the first time since 2006 that there has been an outbreak in Ibaraki.
According to livestock statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ibaraki is the prefecture with the highest number of egg-laying hens at 15.5 million, followed by Chiba with 12.4 million. Miyazaki has the highest number of broilers in the country with 28.2 million, while the neighboring prefecture of Kagoshima ranks second for broilers and third for egg-laying hens. The long-term spread of avian influenza in leading production areas has inevitably affected supply and demand of chicken and eggs.
The common factor in all the poultry avian influenza outbreak cases so far this season is the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 virus with a high fatality rate detected each time. In 10 prefectures yet to experience farm outbreaks, the same virus has been found in wild birds and feces at and alongside rivers and lakes.
Courtesy of nippon.com