Blowflies may be carriers of avian influenza viruses, a Japanese research team said recently, as the country grapples with infections that have led to widespread bird culls and driven up food prices.

With new outbreaks reported late last year following heavy culls the previous season, the research team led by Ryosuke Fujita, an associate professor at Kyushu University's Graduate School of Bioresource and Bioenvironmental Sciences, is urging chicken farms to use insect-proof nets to contain the spread of the virus.

In December 2022, the team analyzed around 650 blowfly samples collected from some 30 locations in the city of Izumi, Kagoshima Prefecture, where bird flu cases were confirmed, and found traces of the avian influenza virus in up to about 15% of the flies' digestive systems.