As the Bird flu spreads in Japan, record number of chickens are likely to be culled in poultry farms in Western Japan. The record will surpass the previous culling registered ten years ago. There will be more than 2.2 million chickens expected to be culled over a one-month period. Bird flu has hit 17 poultry farms in the six western prefectures namely, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Hyogo, Kagawa, Miyazaki, and Nara since early November.
There were 1.83 million chickens culled in nine prefectures in Japan in 2010-2011 due to the highly pathogenic bird flu which was the previous record.
Japan’s agriculture ministry believes outbreaks in other countries led to the situation involving the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of bird flu virus in Japan.
The virus spread in eastern European countries, such as Poland and Hungary and then died down in the previous season. Bird flu has spread in countries in Europe including Great Britain , Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands since October. Which is later on also been detected in Asia including Japan and South Korea, as well as Iran and Israel in the Middle East.
As of the end of November, the virus had been detected in wild birds and poultry farms in 13 countries.
According to Japanese national research institute, its gene analysis discovered that the virus found in Japan is closely related to the virus detected in Europe. It is believed that infections are spreading as migratory birds that brought the virus to their nesting sites in Siberia in the summer are flying to various wintering grounds.