Systemic risks: Japan plans massive bird cull

Japan is planning a major cull after detecting the first case of highly pathogenic H5-type bird flu this season at a poultry farm in the south of the country.

According to public broadcaster NHK, the local government in Saga prefecture will cull about 40,000 birds on the farm, NHK said, citing agriculture ministry officials it did not name.

The report suggested that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will convene relevant cabinet ministers to discuss measures to prevent spreading of the virus.

The virus was detected as a result of genetic testing conducted after some poultry birds were found dead at the farm on Friday, the report said.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza has spread around the globe in recent years, leading to the culling of hundreds of millions of birds.

In Japan a record 17.7 million poultry birds were culled last season, prompting the authorities to stay on high alert.

Last week, Croatia reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus on a poultry farm, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) said.

The outbreak infected five poultry among a flock of 19,600 on a farm in the county of Brodsko-Posavska near the Bosnian border, the Paris-based WOAH said in a report, citing Croatian authorities.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, has spread around the globe in the past years, leading to the culling of hundreds of millions of poultry.

The latest outbreaks follow the recent spread of the virus to Romania and Bulgaria

In Romania, the H5N1 virus was detected in a flock of 120 backyard poultry in the village of Tiganesti near the border with Bulgaria, causing the death of 28 birds, the Paris-based WOAH said, citing a report from the Romanian authorities.

Bulgaria, meanwhile, reported outbreaks of an H5-type bird flu virus on two poultry farms, WOAH said in a separate notice.