TOKYO (AFP) - Japan began killing some 90,000 chickens on Tuesday (Dec 27) to contain another outbreak of a highly contagious strain of avian flu, officials said.
The new drive means more than a million farm birds will have been killed in seven mass culls this season as officials work to prevent the spread of the virulent H5 strain, which has been detected at several farms across the country.
Kumamoto prefecture in south-western Japan started slaughtering some 93,000 farm birds on Tuesday after confirming the H5 strain was found in the town of Nankan, officials said.
"The cull is expected to be completed within 24 hours," a prefectural official told AFP, adding nearly 400 officials had been dispatched to handle the operation.
Japan's first outbreak of avian flu this winter hit in November, which led to the killing of some 18,000 ducks in northern Aomori prefecture.
Several more outbreaks have since hit throughout Japan, from the northern main island of Hokkaido to Kyushu in the south-west.
When Tuesday's cull is complete, the total number of birds slaughtered due to the disease this winter will stand at some 1.07 million, the Farm Ministry said.