Infectious Diseases 2008

Infectious Diseases 2008

Japan: Highly virulent avian influenza virus detected in 2 swans

Japan 23 May, 2008

The highly virulent H5N1 strain of avian influenza has been detected in two swans found dead or weakened at the shores of Lake Towada in Aomori Prefecture.
A similar strain has already been detected in dead swans found last month and earlier this month at the Towada lakeside in neighboring Akita Prefecture and the shores of Lake Saroma in eastern Hokkaid.

In South Korea, the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service said that an H5N1 virus from chickens in South Jeolla province was 99.7% genetically identical to an isolate from the swans in Akita prefecture.

The finding suggests that the recent poultry outbreaks in South Korea may have stemmed from migratory birds. Viruses more than 99% identical are considered the same strain.