H5N1 found in more Aomori swans

Kyodo

The highly virulent H5N1 strain of avian influenza has been detected in two swans found dead or weakened on the shores of Lake Towada in Aomori Prefecture, the Aomori Prefectural Government said Thursday.

A similar strain has already been detected in dead swans found last month and earlier this month along the lake in neighboring Akita Prefecture and the shores of Lake Saroma in eastern Hokkaido.

Genetic tests have shown that the H5N1 strain detected in Akita and Hokkaido is very close to the strain found in poultry in South Korea.

In Tokyo, the Environment Ministry said it will make a genetic analysis of the strain detected in the Aomori swans to determine if there are any links among the viruses detected so far.

Among the two swans in Aomori Prefecture was a weak one that was found April 18 on the premises of a hotel on Lake Towada’s southern side. It died two days later. The other was found dead May 8 in the northern part of Towada.