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Bird flu case confirmed in Chiba, Japan

Posted on 14. April, 2011.

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First came the 9.0 earthquake that was followed by a tsunami, which was followed by damaged nuclear energy plants, now comes news of avian influenza infection among chickens at a poultry farm in Chiba City, Japan.

This is the first such case in the Kanto region centering on Tokyo, the Chiba prefectural government said. Local authorities began culling about 35,000 birds at the farm yesterday and restricted the movements of another 869,000 birds being raised within a 10-kilometer radius of the farm in question.

''This is a very severe situation as damage from the huge earthquake is also serious,'' Chiba Governor  Kensaku Morita said at a press conference, referring to the powerful quake that struck northeastern and eastern Japan on Friday.

A total of four birds were found dead at the Chiba farm on Friday and Saturday, and a genetic test confirmed that four out of seven birds checked were infected by a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu virus, local government officials said.

Chiba is Japan's second-largest chicken egg producing prefecture.

In picture: Location of bird flu outbreak in Japan, Chiba prefecture is indicated in red.

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