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H7N6 AI Outbreak in Commercial Quail Flocks

by 5m Editor
11 March 2009, at 10:18am

JAPAN - An H7N6 avian influenza outbreak in Japan is not raising human health concerns but is costly for commercial producers of quail eggs, a popular food, according to the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

The H7 strain has not been detected in domestic flocks in Japan since 1925. This is the first detection of the H7N6 subtype in Japan.

Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) announced 27 February that local officials detected the H7 avian influenza virus during routine testing at a quail farm in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture. The National Institute of Animal Health confirmed 1 March the presence of H7N6 in samples taken from the quail flock. Although the affected farm reported no increase in mortality among the quail, MAFF and the Aichi prefectural government are culling 260,000 quail on the affected farm and are prohibiting shipment of poultry or poultry products from 23 farms located within five kilometers of the infection site.

The Aichi prefectural government announced 2 March that another farm in the area tested positive for avian influenza virus and confirmed 4 March the H7 strain was present on that farm as well.

Aichi prefecture is one of Japan's leading production centers for quail eggs. The 38 quail farms in the prefecture produce 70 per cent of the country's total production. The sixteen farms located in Toyohashi raise approximately 2,890,000 quail.

Aichi Governor Masaaki Kanda appealed to the public to remain calm, noting there is no danger of infection from eating the eggs or the meat of the infected quail.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.