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Cablegate: Avian Influenza: Japan Weekly Report March 22

VZCZCXRO3215
PP RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHKO #1286 0820430
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230430Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1942
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 0354
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 9712
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 2819
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 3868
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 1308
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 8441
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 001286

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AIAG AMBASSADOR LANGE
DEPT FOR OES/IHA COMELLA
DEPT FOR EAP/J
USDA PASS TO APHIS
HHS PASS TO CDC
HHS FOR OGHA STEIGER AND BHAT
DEPT PASS TO AID/GH/HIDN DENNIS CARROLL

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU KSTH ECON PREL SOCI CASC JA
SUBJECT: AVIAN INFLUENZA: JAPAN WEEKLY REPORT MARCH 22

REF: A. 05 STATE 153802
B. TOKYO 689 AND PREVIOUS

1. No human outbreaks of H5N1 AI were reported in Japan during the
period from February 15 to March 22.

-- H5N1 detected in wild bird -

2. On March 18, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) announced that
the H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus was detected in a
wild Mountain Hawk-eagle, which was taken into custody in Kumamoto
Prefecture, Kyushu. An official of the MOE Wildlife Division
commented that the infected eagle was captured on January 4th,
implying that the H5N1 virus was present in Kumamoto Prefecture at
the time when AI outbreaks were reported in Kyushu's Miyazaki
Prefecture. This also may support the hypothesis that the virus was
brought to Kyushu by migrating birds from China. The sample has
been sent to the National Institute of Animal Health in Tsukuba to
identify the DNA sequence. MOE has started an investigation of wild
birds in the area where the affected eagle was found. They are
looking for any evidence of large-scale die-offs and are collecting
avian fecal samples. Tottori University will analyze the results
of the investigation by early April.

-- MHLW has decided not to give Tamiflu to teenagers -

3. On March 20, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW)
ordered Tamiflu's importer, Chugai Pharmaceutical Company, to revise
Tamiflu's warning labels. The decision was made because of concerns
about abnormal behavior resulting from the use of Tamiflu. The new
labels advise that teenage patients should not use Tamiflu, unless
they are at high risk of contracting the flu because of
complications, existing conditions or other factors. Chugai also
advises that children up to nine years old can take the drug, but
warns that its use could result in abnormal behavior. On March 21,
MHLW announced that, since JFY 2004, there have been 15 cases
reported where teenage patients jumped off buildings after taking
Tamiflu. In adult patients aged 26-74, there have been seven cases
of abnormal behavior reported. Although MHLW had originally
supported the October 2006 study, which concluded that there are no
specific causal links between Tamiflu and abnormal behavior, MHLW
decided on the March 22nd to investigate all 1800 cases of suspected
side effects of Tamiflu reported.

SHIEFFER

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