New Japan bird flu outbreak brings fresh cull of chickens

Osamu TsukimoriManolo Serapio Jr – December 21, 2016

A virulent strain of airborne bird flu extended its shadow across northeast Asia as Japan launched a new chicken cull on a southern island, days after gassing hundreds of thousands of birds some 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) to the north.

Tackling Japan’s sixth outbreak since end-November, Kyushu authorities said they will gas just over 120,000 chickens after the H5 virus was detected on a farm. The island lies close to South Korea, which has ordered a record cull of 20 million birds since first reporting the H5N6 virus just over a month ago.

The rapid spread of the virus has sent health officials across Asia scrambling to contain outbreaks while the poultry industry braces for heavy financial losses. With South Korea just across the Yellow Sea from China, mainland farmers’ nerves were further jangled after Hong Kong reported a first human infection of the season, a case of the H5N7 strain.