Last Update: 09/12/2021

Improved disease surveillance in wild birds


Technical manual for response to highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild birds


In line with OIE Wildlife Health Framework Output: Quality data collection, reporting, analysis and use improved

The Japanese government prepared a technical manual to respond to highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild birds. Several methods of surveillance are used to collect data. Surveillance survey results are shared with multiple stakeholders.

The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) in Japan prepared the “Technical Manual for Response to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Wild Birds”. The aim is to improve efficiency of surveillance for and early detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus in wild birds, to smooth the response to mass outbreaks, and to improve technical response capabilities in cooperation and collaboration with relevant organisations. The manual includes information such as: an outline of surveillance in wild birds, details of the response to an outbreak and survey methods, and historical data. Based on this manual, staff from national government, prefectures (administrative divisions) and other relevant organisations conduct HPAI surveillance in wild birds.

Several types of survey are conducted: bird population and habitat, faecal sampling, and dead wild birds. At the prefectural level, samples are collected in accordance with the manual and sent to MOE-designated organisations. Viral survey results are shared promptly by the MOE with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), other relevant ministries and agencies, and related organisations.


Surveillance specifics

1. Bird population and habitat survey

Monitoring for abnormalities by migratory bird flights, bird fauna surveys, and patrols. During an outbreak event, such monitoring is intensified.

2. Faecal sampling

Waterfowl samples are collected at 52 locations nationwide at least once between October and December (and may be collected more frequently on a voluntary basis) during the early stages of migration in each region.

3. Mortality events in wild birds

Swabs (tracheal and cloacal) from dead wild birds are tested for viral genes and viruses using simple tests and also specialised laboratories. Testing is conducted throughout the year; investigation targets are expanded and intensified during outbreaks. As it is difficult to test all dead individuals in the wild, tests are conducted based on established priority species and response levels.

4. Survey of water samples from wild bird roosts

Water samples from migratory bird roosts are collected and, in cooperation with universities, a pilot study on virus isolation is being undertaken.



When HPAI is confirmed in wild birds, the area within a 10 km radius of the outbreak site is designated a priority bird surveillance area. Surveillance of wild birds in this area is strengthened. In the case of an HPAI outbreak around a farm, MAFF conducts an epidemiological survey.