National

Black swan at Nagoya zoo latest to succumb to widening bird flu outbreak

Kyodo

Bird flu is spreading across Japan, with a black swan at an Aichi Prefecture zoo being the latest to become infected.

The swan at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya tested positive for the flu on Tuesday and later died.

The result of the test will be confirmed within a week by a team at Tottori University.

The swan had lived in an open-air pond near the main gate, where wild birds can fly in and out.

Nagoya officials said that it will make part of the zoo’s bird-feeding area off limits starting Wednesday.

Zoo officials said the apparent infection is the first ever case of its kind.

Aichi Prefecture will inspect two poultry farms within a 3-km radius of the zoo to check for any abnormalities.

Other recent bird flu cases include an outbreak in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, where a genetic test of a wild black-headed gull found on a lake proved positive for the H5N1 type of bird flu.

In Izumi, Kagoshima Prefecture, a dead Eurasian wigeon tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N6 type of bird flu. The case brought the number of infections of wild birds to 21 in the city this winter.

Based on confirmed reports that infections are on the rise, Yokohama announced it would close parts of bird exhibitions at its zoos starting Wednesday, including at Yokohama Zoological Gardens Zoorasia and Nogeyama Zoo.

Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo on Tuesday closed an area featuring chickens, ducks and turkeys in a section where visitors can touch the birds. Also on Tuesday, Sapporo’s Maruyama Zoo canceled an event featuring kites and owls flying outdoors.

Akita Prefecture’s Omoriyama Zoo, where three black swans and two snowy owls that died last month tested positive for the flu, closed on Nov. 15, earlier than its scheduled closing for the year at the end of November.