Despite efforts to contain the spread of bird flu in Japan, three chickens at a farm in western Japan have tested positive for the virus in what could be the country’s fifth outbreak.

Officials are carrying out tests to determine if the virus in this latest outbreak is the H5N1 strain which has wreaked havoc across parts of Asia in recent weeks.

The Japanese government has set up measures to isolate the poultry farm near Kyoto in a bid to prevent further spread of the disease, reported Dow Jones News.

“We may be headed for the worst possible scenario,” said Kyoto prefectural govenor Keiji Yamada. “We must strictly investigate the route of infection.” 

Birds on the poultry farm are not believed to have come into contact with birds on a farm near Asada Nosan, where another outbreak of bird flu was recently discovered. Earlier this week, a possible fourth outbreak of the disease was reported in Shimane prefecture, about 720 kilometres west of Tokyo.

There has been some concern that farmers have not immediately alerted authorities of suspected outbreaks, making it harder for the disease to be contained.

“Once a disease breaks out, it is important that farmers notify the authorities,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda was quoted by Dow Jones as saying. “We can minimise the damage if everybody adopts this attitude.”

Meanwhile, bird flu cases have been discovered in two new locations in Cambodia. Both cases were confirmed to be the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of the disease.