Infectious Diseases 2004

Infectious Diseases 2004

Japan: Five people were found avian influenza antibody-positive

18 December, 2004

Four employees of an avian influenza contaminated poultry farm and one person who helped disinfect the facility may have contracted the virus during an outbreak early this year (Febfuary 2004) in Japan.
If confirmed, the cases would mark the first human infections from avian influenza in Japan.
The five were based in rural Kyoto prefecture (state), about 370km west of Tokyo, which suffered an avian influenza outbreak after a farmer tried to cover up the fact the disease was killing thousands of his chickens.
Researchers found antibodies to the avian influenza virus in blood samples taken from the people in February and March, but were unable to determine if any of them had actually contracted the disease, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said there was a chance the five were infected with the virus, but it hadn't reached a conclusion.
The government took blood samples from about 60 people, including farm employees, decontamination workers and local government employees for the study.
The ministry planned to issue a more detailed report on Wednesday.