Within days of H5N6's first detection in South Korea, we've seen reports of scattered bird deaths in Japan (see Japan: Akita Omoriyama Zoo Culling Birds After 2nd Bird Death Positive For AI) raising fears that Japan would be the next stop on that virus's world tour.
While we still await test results on those birds, today Japan's Ministry of Environment announced the detection of the virus in roost water sampled from Izumi, in Kagoshima Prefecture.
For highly pathogenic avian influenza confirmed positive test case in the water that has been collected in Kagoshima Prefecture IzumiIzumi City on southern tip of Japan is famous for the yearly arrival and overwintering of thousands of rare Hooded, and White-naped cranes. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists both species as Vulnerable (one step up from Endangered).
2016 November 18, specify the wild bird monitoring emphasis area)
November 18, from Kagoshima University, by its own investigation of the university, from November 14 to the collected environmental samples in Kagoshima Prefecture, Izumi (roost of water), highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N6 subtype) is detected It was reported there was a fact.
For this reason, specify the surrounding 10 km distance in the wild bird monitoring emphasis area from November 18, we are strengthening the wild bird monitoring.
※ roost of water investigation
Roost are those that are installed stretched artificially water in protected areas in order to cranes wintering, periodically (November to 3 in conjunction with the water and in the Kagoshima Izumi as environmental samples what it is investigating a month).
Both species spend their summers in Mongolia, Siberia, or Northwestern China - and of the roughly 10,000 hooded swans in the world - 80% overwinter in Izumi.Hooded cranes, and the nature preserve at Izumi, are regarded (and often referred to as) `National Treasures’ in Japan, which is why in 2010-11 we saw a near panic among officials when 5 Hooded Cranes Test Positive For H5N1 in Izumi. As we discussed in Japan’s Bird Flu Dilemma, there are few options open to officials when a potentially deadly virus strikes a rare, and protected species of birds.
The impact that year was limited (many birds can carry the virus without ill effect), and we did not see a major return of H5N1 bird flu during the next few winters.
In November of 2014, H5N8 was detected at Izumi, but once again the impact was limited, although H5N8 did spread to poultry farms in several prefectures.
When combined with at least four confirmed reports of H5N6 in South Korea this week, today's announcement reaffirms that H5N6 is on the move in Asia, and like H5N8 before it, threatens to expand its range even further.