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Published December 02, 2010, 08:49 AM

Japanese ministry: Bird flu virus is ‘highly pathogenic’

Genetic tests have confirmed that the case of avian flu recently discovered at a farm in Shimane Prefecture was caused by a highly pathogenic virus, the farm ministry said Thursday.

Genetic tests have confirmed that the case of avian flu recently discovered at a farm in Shimane Prefecture was caused by a highly pathogenic virus, the farm ministry said Thursday.

The virus is also quite similar to that detected from the feces of a wild duck in Hokkaido in October this year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries added.

The finding could corroborate the assumption that the ministry made from early on that the chickens in Shimane probably got infected by wild birds.

Earlier in the day, the Shimane prefectural government said it had killed all 21,500 chickens and began incinerating their bodies at the farm where five birds were confirmed to be infected with a highly virulent bird flu the previous day.

Efforts to disinfect the farm in the city of Yasuki are to be completed by early next week.

After the disinfection, chickens raised within a 10-kilometer radius from the farm will be checked regularly for at least three weeks, the farm ministry said.

If safety is ensured in the area during that period, restrictions on the movement of birds there will be lifted.

The case in Shimane represents the first bird flu infection since February 2009 when a quail farm in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, was found to be infected by another strain of avian flu virus.

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