New bird flu case reported in S. Korea


SEOUL: South Korea confirmed yesterday its first case of bird flu for more than a month, dashing hopes it had seen the last of an epidemic that has ravaged poultry and killed 24 people across Asia. 

The outbreak, discovered at the weekend at a chicken farm in Kyonggi province, was the first new case since Feb 5 and 16,000 poultry at the affected farm were destroyed on Sunday, the agriculture ministry said. 

Agriculture Minister Huh Sang-man visited the area yesterday and urged thorough disinfection measures to contain the outbreak, the ministry said in a statement. 

“One farm located in the city of Yangju has tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza,” it said.  

It said that a combined 400,000 chickens and ducks within a 3km-radius of the affected farm would be destroyed and poultry farms within a radius of 30km to 40km would be checked twice a day by telephone for new outbreaks. 

Before the latest discovery, South Korea had destroyed nearly five million poultry and confirmed outbreaks at 19 farms across the country since early December. 

The strain of bird flu in the country was different from the type that killed people in Vietnam and Thailand, South Korea said last month, citing tests by a US disease control agency. 

The ministry said that more than 2,000 chickens that had been shipped from the affected farm would be destroyed. 

The virulent H5N1 avian flu virus had also been found in a magpie captured and tested in Yangsan, where an outbreak was reported in January. But it was not expected to pose a significant threat as the incubation period was short in magpies, the ministry added. – Reuters

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