Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bird Flu Outbreak Detected Again

Bird Flu Outbreak Detected Again

By Park Chung-a
Staff Reporter

Another case of the highly virulent H5N1 avian influenza has been discovered at a poultry farm located about 3 kilometers from the first reported outbreak in Iksan, North Cholla Province, the Agriculture Ministry said Tuesday.

The latest discovery of avian influenza has raised fears that the virus has already spread beyond the high risk zone set by the government and the crisis will last longer than originally expected, despite the government's massive quarantine measures.

The owner of the farm requested a virus test on his farm on late Monday as 206 of 12,000 chickens in the farm died in just two days from Sunday to Monday. Another 400 chickens in the farm were reportedly found dead yesterday morning.

The National Veterinary Research & Quarantine Service, the state laboratory, announced that their analysis of samples from the farm confirmed that the chickens were infected with the highly pathogenic bird flu.

Since Sunday, quarantine officials have been destroying all poultry within a 500-meter radius of the initially infected farm, about 250 kilometers south of Seoul. Yesterday alone, they destroyed 46,000 chickens and 300 pigs.

Owing to the second outbreak of the highly pathogenic virus, it is highly likely that a special surveillance zone will be expanded, and that poultry within the 3-kilometer radius quarantine zone will be slaughtered.

Meanwhile, the death of a large number of chickens in Sosan, South Chungchong Province last week was found to be unrelated to the bird flu virus, according to the ministry.

The chicken farm operators at Sosan, just north of the site of a bird flu outbreak in Iksan, 230 kilometers south of Seoul, had requested an investigation after more than 1,000 chickens died since Nov. 20 without a clear reason.

The ministry said that according to the investigation, the deaths were highly likely to have been caused by common poultry infections.

The ministry has been on alert since Nov. 18 when avian influenza was first detected. The ministry has destroyed nearly 100,000 chickens, pigs, cats and eggs in areas near the outbreak site.

No South Koreans have ever fallen ill from bird flu.
11-28-2006 17:16


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