S. Korea confirms case of bird flu

January 14, 2015
Bird flu is highly contagious so authorities are taking necessary measures to contain the virus. (Yonhap)

Bird flu is highly contagious so authorities are taking necessary measures to contain the virus. (Yonhap)

SEJONG (Yonhap) — An additional case of avian influenza (AI) has been confirmed in Busan, South Korea’s largest sea port, quarantine officials said Wednesday.

According to Busan municipal authorities and quarantine officials, chickens and geese that were found dead at a poultry farm on Tuesday all tested positive for the H5 strain of bird flu.

It said further tests are needed to determine whether they died from the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of the animal disease.

The confirmation marks the first time that Busan has reported a bird flu case since 2008.

Quarantine officials said 580 birds at the farm that raised geese, chickens and pigeons were all culled to prevent further spreading of the disease.

It said four checkpoints have been set up around the poultry farm to disinfect cars and control the movement of people and animals.

In addition to the Busan case, quarantine officials said tests showed birds at a duck farm in Anseong, near Seoul, have tested positive for the H5 strain.

They said more detailed test results to determine whether the birds have been infected by the virulent H5N8 strain will come out over the weekend.

Besides the latest AI case, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, which has been struggling to control the spread of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the country, warned that more outbreaks could occur in places such as Hongseong, Hwaseong, Gongju and Chungju, in the central part of the country.

It said the assessment comes as pigs that had shown symptoms of the highly contagious animal disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, were moved and may have contaminated slaughterhouses and vehicles that were used to carry other livestock. The ministry said the vehicles were used to ferry animals to and from the four areas cited.

“It is unlikely that FMD will spread all across the country as in 2010, but newer cases are still possible,” an official source said.

He said that in order to counter such threats, the country plans to import enough vaccine for about 1.6 million animals this month.

Besides such measures, the ministry said it will keep data on all farms reporting outbreaks and take action against those that have been affected by the animal disease time and again.

It said quarantine inspections at airports and port terminals will be strengthened, and more will be done to develop FMD vaccines in the country.

Since Dec. 3, 50 cases of FMD have been reported in 13 cities and counties across the country, resulting in the culling of 44,313 animals so far.