April 8, 2009

Raccoons with bird flu antibodies found

Japanese researchers say they've found 10 raccoons that show signs of having fought off previous bird flu infections.

The discovery marks the first time anyone in Japan has seen mammals with bird flu virus antibodies, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Wednesday. Researchers said the raccoons likely infected with the H5N1 virus by eating the carcasses of infected birds or through antibodies passed on by their parents.

The findings from the Tokyo University and Yamaguchi University study were presented at a recent Japanese Society of Veterinary Science meeting, the newspaper said.