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H5N1 Confirmed in Primorsky in Southeastern Russia

Recombinomics Commentary 17:05
April 11, 2008

The recent OIE report from Russia confirms H5N1 in the poultry in Primorsky, Russia (see satellite map).  The report, as well as media reports, also links wild birds hunted by the owner of the affected farm as the likely H5N1 source.  The report indicates the affected birds had not been vaccinated and the terrestrial birds were susceptible (21 of 28 chickens, 7 of 8 guinea fowl, but none of the six waterfowl - 3 ducks and 3 Muscovy ducks).

These data raise concerns of asymptomatic waterfowl in the nearby freshwater lake (named Lake Khanka in Russia and Lake Xingkai in China), which hosts 100’s of thousands of migratory waterfowl each spring and fall (334 bird species have been tallied at the site, which is the largest freshwater lake in the Russian Far East).

The migration of H5N1 in this region is likely linked to the outbreaks in southwestern Korea and raises concerns of unreported H5N1 in adjacent areas including Japan, North Korea, and northeastern China.

It is likely that the H5N1 in Russia will be the Uvs Lake strain, based on sequences from South Korea last season, but sequence data on the current outbreaks in Russia and South Korea would be useful.

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