Japan’s bird flu virus has same gene type as South Korea’s


The virus strain that caused bird flu at a poultry farm in Kumamoto Prefecture has been confirmed to be genetically identical to the one found in South Korea, the National Institute of Animal Health said Tuesday.

Genome sequencing conducted by the institute proved the virus strain detected April 13 on the farm in the town of Taragi, Kumamoto Prefecture, was at least 99 percent identical to the virus that has led to widespread infections in South Korea this year.

There is little chance that the virus will directly affect humans, according to the institute.

The farm ministry believes the virus came from South Korea. It will hold a meeting Wednesday to discuss ways to clarify the route by which it reached Japan.

The ministry said April 17 that the bird flu found in Kumamoto has been confirmed as the same H5N8 subtype detected in South Korea. The institute has conducted genome analysis for more details.

Some 12 million chickens have been destroyed in South Korea since January, due to the bird flu outbreak.