East Asian poultry economy suffering from flu

January 15, 2004, just-food.com: Southeast Asia is suffering from a flu epidemic but it is not its citizens that are sick. Thousands of chickens have died of bird flu in recent weeks, prompting China to announce the closing of it borders to poultry imports from South Korea, Vietnam and Japan, reported Agence France-Presse.

China placed the ban to protect itself from the highly contagious bird flu virus, according to state media. China is mainly a poultry exporter, rather than an importer, so the outbreaks in neighboring countries are unlikely to affect the country’s domestic poultry market, AFP said.

Meanwhile, the outbreak of bird flu in Japan has left officials baffled as to how the outbreak occurred.

Officials from Japan’s agriculture ministry said the strain of the virus that had been found in Japan is the same as that found in South Korea and Vietnam, but they have been unable to discover how an outbreak occurred in Yamaguchi, western Japan.

The Japanese outbreak is the country’s first in almost 80 years.

Agriculture Minister Yoshiyuki Kamei sought to alleviate consumer fears over the outbreak, saying there have been no reports of the virus being transmitted to humans through the consumption of chicken or eggs, reported Reuters.