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Over 4,000 Japanese chicken farms to be disinfected

The agricultural ministry on Thursday asked 23 prefectures in western Japan to disinfect local poultry farms raising 1,000 or more chickens so as to prevent the outbreak of bird flu.

The largest-ever request of its kind follows a recent series of highly pathogenic bird flu incidents confirmed in Okayama and Miyazaki prefectures. While the prefectural governments will decide whether to comply with the request by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, there are some 4,000 poultry farms with 1,000 or more chickens in the Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu regions, ministry officials said.

The ministry envisages the farms being disinfected from Saturday till the end of February by liming there and in neighboring areas. Prefectural governments' purchases of caustic lime to kill bird-flu viruses will be financed by the state coffers, the officials said. Experts believe the viruses are brought into Japan by migrant birds which are said to arrive often in the western part of the country. 


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