A new outbreak of bird flu has been detected in the Japanese prefecture of Gunma and the culling of 450,000 chickens has already started, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported on Thursday, citing the data of the local administration.
The disease was suspected on a farm in the city of Maebashi, the news agency said. Genetic analysis confirmed the presence of a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza.
The authorities have reportedly already imposed a ban on the transportation of chickens and eggs within a 3-kilometer (1.8 miles) radius around the outbreak hot spots as well as prohibited the export of chickens and eggs outside a 10-kilometer radius.
Taking into account the latest outbreak, the number of chickens culled in Japan this season has already exceeded 10 million, which is an all-time high for Japan now. In the season before last, from November 2020 to the end of March 2021, during which the poultry industry suffered the most extensive damage due to bird flu, 9.87 million chickens were culled, and there were 52 outbreaks in 18 prefectures.
Experts explain the outbreak by the fact that migrating birds have returned earlier than usual this year and infection was spreading fast across regions. Bird flu has caused the price of chicken eggs — already high amid inflation and soaring prices for food products — to spike to its 29-year peak.