Japan is currently grappling with its first case of the highly pathogenic H5-type bird flu this season, originating from a poultry farm in the southern region of the country. NHK reported this alarming development on November 25, 2023. The affected farm, situated in Saga prefecture, is under scrutiny, and authorities are planning to cull approximately 40,000 birds to contain and prevent the virus’s further spread. Agriculture ministry officials, whose identities remain undisclosed, shared this information, though the ministry was not available for comments beyond regular business hours. In response to this pressing issue, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is slated to convene a meeting with relevant cabinet ministers to formulate comprehensive measures aimed at curbing the virus’s dissemination.

The virus’s identification resulted from genetic testing conducted after the discovery of deceased poultry birds on the farm on November 24, 2023, as per the NHK report. This detection method highlights the stringent surveillance and diagnostic procedures in place to promptly address potential outbreaks. Given the global challenge of highly pathogenic avian influenza in recent years, Japan’s rapid response involves not only culling affected birds but also engaging in high-level discussions to devise strategic measures for preventing the escalation of the avian influenza outbreak. Japan’s proactive stance aligns with international efforts to protect both poultry populations and public health from the consequences of this contagious virus.