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Japanese ministry: Bird flu virus is ‘highly pathogenic’

Genetic tests have confirmed that the case of avian flu recently discovered at a farm in Shimane Prefecture was caused by a highly pathogenic virus, the farm ministry said Thursday.

The virus is also quite similar to that detected from the feces of a wild duck in Hokkaido in October this year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries added.

The finding could corroborate the assumption that the ministry made from early on that the chickens in Shimane probably got infected by wild birds.

Earlier in the day, the Shimane prefectural government said it had killed all 21,500 chickens and began incinerating their bodies at the farm where five birds were confirmed to be infected with a highly virulent bird flu the previous day.

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