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Fujian H5N1 Re-emerges in South Korea
Recombinomics Commentary 00:33
May 22, 2008

A suspected bird flu case has been reported at a chicken farm in the central part of the country after over a week of no new outbreaks, the government said on Wednesday.

Quarantine officials in South Chungcheong Province said 60 chickens suddenly started dying on Monday at a farm in Nonsan, 213 kilometers south of Seoul.

It said a preliminary on-site test came up positive for the H5 avian influenza, but added that it may not be a virulent strain.

The above comments suggest that H5N1 has not been stamped out in South Korea, even though more than 8 million birds have been culled.  The comments continue to speculate on a low path H5 even though the chickens died suddenly and there have been no reports of low path H5 in South Korea.  A new OIE report was just filed on more H5N1 outbreaks ( see satellite map) and the H5 in the above outbreak, like the H5 in the soldier, will be H5N1.

Korea has acknowledge the 99.7% identity between the H5N1 in Korea and the sequences released by Japan.  The sequences from Japan were the Fujian strain (clade 2.3), with HA from one sub-clade (2.3.2) and the other seven gene segments form another sub-clade (2

The re-emergence of H5N1 on farms in Japan raise concerns that Fujian H5N1 has now become endemic in Korea, which could act as a reservoir fro H5N1 spread into North America and Eastern Siberia, based on migration patterns of whooper swan, which were H5N1 confirmed in Japan and which migrate from Korea to Mongolia in the spring/summer.

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