Japan on Thursday began culling around 330,000 chickens after the confirmation of a “highly pathogenic” bird flu outbreak in nearly three years, local media reported. 

Avian influenza was diagnosed in chickens at a farm in Mitoyo, a city in western Kagawa prefecture, where the local government has sought help from the armed forces, according to Kyodo News Agency.

The culling operation — expected to be completed in the next ten days — was ordered after the infected farm reported that nearly 3,800 chickens had died over a four-day period.

Local authorities have barred chicken farms within a 10-kilometer radius of the infected site from moving out any poultry and eggs.

The steps affect a total of 4.62 million chickens at 115 farms, but there have been no reports of other mass poultry deaths in the zone.

The Ministry of Agriculture says it will suspend the export of chickens and eggs temporarily.

The last avian flu outbreak — January 2018 — in the East Asian country also occurred in the Kagawa administrative division.

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