Bird flu cases in Japan hit a record high after new infections were confirmed in Chiba and Fukuoka prefectures, the farm ministry said Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, a total of 54 cases of avian flu were confirmed across 23 prefectures in Japan this season, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The previous record was registered two seasons ago, between November 2020 and March 2021, when 52 cases were confirmed in 18 prefectures, resulting in the culling of roughly 9.9 million chickens, an all-time high.

Officials from Chiba prefectural government cull chickens at a poultry farm in Asahi on Jan. 3, 2023, after avian flu was confirmed there. (Photo courtesy of Chiba prefectural government)(Kyodo)

Around 7.75 million birds have already been culled this season as of Tuesday, with the number likely to exceed the previous record.

As bird flu has spread globally, it is believed that it has been brought into Japan by migratory birds.

The farm ministry has said there is no possibility of people contracting bird flu from eating chicken or eggs.

This season's first case of bird flu was confirmed on a poultry farm in Okayama Prefecture, western Japan, in October, with the highly deadly H5N1 strain detected from samples of the infected chickens.

At a poultry farm in Chiba Prefecture, eastern Japan, near Tokyo, an avian flu case was confirmed through genetic testing on Tuesday, the prefectural government said, leading to the culling of around 10,000 chickens at the location.

Bird flu was also reported at a farm that raises emus in Fukuoka Prefecture in southwestern Japan, with about 430 of the birds being culled.