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Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture to cull over 500,000 chickens due to new bird flu outbreak

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Tokyo: More than 500,000 chickens will be culled in the Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido due to a new outbreak of bird flu, the local administration said on Tuesday.

“On March 27, chicken deaths were registered at a poultry farm in the prefecture. A quick test revealed the presence of influenza type A. The result of testing for the avian influenza virus came out positive on March 28,” the administration said in a statement.

This is already the third bird flu outbreak in Hokkaido this season, and the 82nd case nationwide. Up to 558,000 chickens will be culled this time. Local authorities introduced a quarantine on birds transportation within a three-kilometer radius and gave instructions to conduct disinfection works at the farm.

Taking into account the latest outbreaks, the number of chickens culled in Japan this season has already reached 16.5 million, which is an all-time high for the country. Since October 28, 2022 bird flu has been detected in 26 out of 47 prefectures of the country. In addition, the virus has caused the price of chicken eggs — already high amid inflation and soaring prices for food products — to spike to its 29-year peak.

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