Second bird flu outbreak sparks chicken slaughter

JAPAN ordered the slaughter of some 42,000 chickens yesterday as officials announced the country’s second bird flu outbreak in less than a month.

DNA tests confirmed the presence of the H5 strain of the virus at a farm in Miyazaki prefecture after the chicken farmer reported on Sunday that several of his chickens had died suddenly.

Officials began the slaughter yesterday and ordered farms within a six-mile radius not to move their poultry outside the area.

And another poultry farm in Yamaguchi prefecture on the south-western tip of Japan’s main Honshu island also reported a higher-than-usual death rate among its chickens.

Initial tests showed a positive reading for bird flu, but more tests were needed for confirmation, the Farm Ministry said.

The confirmed case comes about two weeks after the government ordered the slaughter of 4,000 chickens at another poultry farm in Miyazaki.