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S. Korea investigating suspected case of highly pathogenic bird flu

January 17, 2021
Officials disinfect the area surrounding a duck farm in Jinju, 434 kilometers south of Seoul, on Jan. 9, 2021. — courtesy Yonhap
Officials disinfect the area surrounding a duck farm in Jinju, 434 kilometers south of Seoul, on Jan. 9, 2021. — courtesy Yonhap

SEOUL — South Korea's Agricultural Ministry said Sunday it is investigating a suspected case of highly pathogenic bird flu from a poultry farm, Yonhap reported.

The latest suspected case of the malign H5 strain of avian influenza was reported at a duck farm in Gimje, about 260 kilometers southwest of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The ministry issued a standstill order for nearby farms within 10 kilometers, as bird flu is contagious and can cause severe illness and even death in poultry.

It will take up to three days to determine whether the suspected case is also highly pathogenic, authorities said.

The disease has been spreading quickly among poultry farms across the country since its first such case in nearly three years in November.

As of Saturday, the country reported three new cases of highly pathogenic bird flu from local poultry farms, raising the total caseload to 65, the Agriculture Ministry said.

South Korea's Agricultural Ministry had said last Wednesday it is currently investigating six suspected cases of highly pathogenic bird flu amid no signs of a letup in the spread of the disease.

The country's total caseload of the H5N8 strain of avian influenza traced to farms has reached 53 since it reported the first such infection in late November in nearly three years.

The latest suspected case came from an egg farm in Cheonan, 92 kilometers south of Seoul. Gyeonggi Province that surrounds Seoul took up 14 cases so far, followed by provinces of North and South Jeolla with 11 each.

Cases traced to wild birds also continued to pile up as they flew into South Korea over the winter. A total of 65 cases were found from wild bird habitats since the first case was found in October, with 14 suspected cases currently under investigation.

To prevent the spread of the highly pathogenic bird flu, South Korea has destroyed 15.1 million poultry. — Agencies


January 17, 2021
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