Dead Ducks In S Korea
Raise H5N1 Concerns

By Dr. Henry L. Niman, PhD
"The Cheju Poultry Research Center said that 130 ducks out of 1,200 less than 2-months old, died suddenly on Oct. 19 at a duck farm on the island.
Officials said that a couple of ducks have died since then, but then over 800 ducks died Wednesday. They slaughtered the remaining 200 ducks.
Although the exact cause of death is still not clear, quarantine officials confirmed the ducks were not infected with bird flu. They expect malnutrition might have led to ducks dying."
The above comments try to link the sudden deaths on malnutrition, but the location of the farm suggests H5N1 wild bird flu caused the bird deaths. Analysis of H5N1 from Qinghai Lake and Novosibirsk show that the wild bird flu in both areas have sequences that are very closely related to each other.
However, both clades have a number of polymorphisms shared with South Korea and Japan. China has reported recent H5N1 in Inner Mongolia, Anhui, and Hunan (see map). These reports strongly suggest H5N1 has also migrated to South Korea and Japan.
Deaths of ducks are a common feature associated with H5N1 wild bird flu.
More detail on the clinical symptoms would be useful. It is unclear why tissue samples from the dead birds are not being tested.
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