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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Japan : Toyama bird flu strain deemed highly lethal

Via The Japan Times :

" TOYAMA (Kyodo) : The highly infectious H5 avian flu virus found in a dead swan in Toyama Prefecture is very lethal and extremely close to the strains that infected birds in Shimane Prefecture and Hokkaido, the National Institute of Animal Health said late Sunday.

Following the announcement, the Environment Ministry upgraded its alert level against avian influenza to the highest rank of 3 from 2 for areas within a radius of 10 km from a park in the Toyama city of Takaoka where the infected bird — a mute swan — was found dead.

In Shimane Prefecture, the highly lethal H5N1 virus was confirmed in chickens that were found infected with flu last month at a poultry farm in the city of Yasugi, after the same virus was detected in October in the droppings of a wild duck in Wakkanai, Hokkaido.

The DNA sequence of the virus found in Toyama was 99.7 percent identical to that of the H5N1 strain seen in Yasugi, and the national institute in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, was expected to clarify its type Tuesday, officials said."

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