Similar to what we are seeing with H5N8 in Europe and the Middle East, HPAI H5N6 has aggressively taken wing in both South Korea and Japan, and is showing up both in migratory birds and farmed poultry.
Japan's Ministry of Environment handles the non-farm detections of the virus (wild birds & environment), and their Information about the highly pathogenic avian influenza web page has been updated almost daily since H5N6 arrived in Japan in mid-November.Overnight that website has undergone a major transformation, with reports re-organized, a back filling of data, and the addition of eight new reports in the past 24 hours.
- 2016 December 2 high by pathogenic avian influenza wild birds due to the occurrence emergency survey team about the results of the survey in Iwate Prefecture (H28.12.2 18:00) [PDF 76KB]
- 2016 December 2, type A avian influenza virus simple test positive in the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus confirmed inspection death birds of positive and Aomori Prefecture in death and protect birds of Kagoshima Prefecture, A type avian influenza virus in dead wild birds of Ibaraki Prefecture for genetic testing positive (H28.12.2 18:00) [PDF 191KB]
- [PDF85KB For the response to avian influenza in poultry in 2016 December 2, Aomori Prefecture
- [PDF 31KB] for the type A avian influenza virus simple test positive in 2016 December 2 death wild bird of Fukushima Prefecture
- [PDF 37KB] about the dispatch of emergency investigation team in the highly pathogenic avian influenza-positive case in 2016 December 2 death wild bird of Miyagi Prefecture
- 2016 December 1 day new [PDF 30KB] for the type A avian influenza virus genetic testing positive in the death of wild birds lagoon Prefecture
- 2016 December 1, Aomori Prefecture, [PDF 22KB] for avian influenza in poultry in Niigata Prefecture
- For highly pathogenic avian influenza virus confirmed positive test in 2016 December 1, Hyogo Prefecture of waterfowl feces [PDF 29KB]
Newly added prefectures to the AI list include Fukushima, Hyogo, Miyagi, Iwate, and Ibaraki.
As in Europe, reports are coming in almost hourly, and any listing is already outdated before it can be published.
While it is possible that we are seeing increased vigilance and reporting bias in Japan and South Korea (and in Europe with H5N8), we've not seen this level of wild bird deaths reported previously.China, where both of these viruses emerged in 2014, has never reported much in the way of `real-time' wild bird surveillance, and over the past two years has become less open in their reporting on avian influenza in general.
Our history with H5N8 outside of China is considerably broader than H5N6, and as I wrote a couple of weeks ago in Europe: Unusual Mortality Among WIld Birds From H5N8, its arrival and spread in North America over the winter of 2014-15 was notable for its dearth of wild bird mortality events.
Exactly why H5N6 and H5N8 appear to be spreading faster, farther, and with more virulence than we've seen before is - as yet - unknown.
But neither virus appears to be slowing down, and so regions and countries that have not yet been visited need to be alert to the possibility they could be next.