Published Date: 2004-01-12 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH> Avian influenza - Japan (02)
Archive Number: 20040112.0125
AVIAN INFLUENZA - JAPAN (02)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: Scotsman.com, 12 Jan 2004 [edited]
Bird flu virus hits Japan
A highly contagious bird flu has killed thousands of chickens in southern
Japan, an official said today. By last night, about 6000 chickens had died
of the disease at a poultry farm in the town of Ato in Yamaguchi, about 500
miles south west of Tokyo.
Tests found the virus was a strain of the H5 virus, the same category as
the H5N1 virus that spread in South Korea in 2003. Authorities are still
investigating whether it is the deadly H5N1-97 strain, which killed 6
people in Hong Kong in 1997. Avian flu generally infects only birds,
although it has spread to people in a few isolated cases.
Eggs shipped to market from the Yamaguchi farm were recalled, and the
farm's remaining 28 600 birds will all be destroyed and buried within days,
the official added. He said chicken from the farm is not for export.
Bird flu was last found in Japan 79 years ago, officials said.
[The early identification of the involved virus strain and the swift
consequent action reflect Japan's concern about the possible introduction
of avian influenza and the possible threat to public health. In May 2003,
Japan banned the importation of poultry products from China following the
detection of the virus in imported duck products. Japan's apparent caution
can be understood in view of unofficial information on the incidence of
avian influenza H5N1 virus in (mainland) Chinese poultry, demonstrated by
the recording (in February 2003) of cases in humans upon their return from
mainland China to Hong Kong (see 20030512.1179).
The recent spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) into several
countries in eastern Asia, including South Korea, Vietnam, and now Japan,
highlights the urgent need for improved monitoring and reporting from other
countries in the region. According to Office International des Epizooties
data, China reported the absence of HPAI during 2002, while no data on the
HPAI situation there during 2003 are (yet?) available
Recent recorded poultry mortality in Thailand might also deserve further
investigation. - Mod.AS]