Table of Contents
Influenza Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 652652, 8 pages
Review Article

Blow Flies Were One of the Possible Candidates for Transmission of Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza Virus during the 2004 Outbreaks in Japan

Department of Medical Entomology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan

Received 19 August 2010; Accepted 15 November 2010

Academic Editor: Masaji Mase

Copyright © 2011 Kyoko Sawabe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The 2003-2004 H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks in Japan were the first such outbreaks in 79 years in Japan. Epidemic outbreaks have been occurring in Southeast Asia, with the most recent in 2010. Knowledge of the transmission route responsible for the HPAI outbreaks in these countries remains elusive. Our studies strongly suggested that field and laboratory studies focusing on mechanical transmission by blow flies should be considered to control H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks, in particular in epidemic areas, where there are high densities of different fly species throughout the year. In this paper, we review these field and laboratory entomological studies and discuss the possibility of blow flies transmitting H5N1 viruses.