Pestilences and Diseases
Lethal bird flu strain confirmed in S.Korea wild ducks
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Jan 1, 2011
Five wild ducks found dead in South Korea this week were confirmed
Saturday to have been infected with a lethal strain of the bird
flu virus as the country battles its first outbreak in over two
Tests showed the five dead birds found in Sacheon City on December
26 had been stricken with the H5N1 virus, the agriculture ministry
said in a statement.
The same strain -- which poses a risk to humans -- has also been
detected in wild birds and their faeces at four other locations
across the country since December 7, it said.
South Korea on Friday confirmed the outbreak of bird flu and more
than 100,000 birds have been slaughtered as authorities seek to
contain its spread.
Two poultry farms, one in the central city of Cheonan and the
other in the southwestern city of Iksan, were confirmed to have
been contaminated, the ministry said.
Health authorities placed a quarantine zone over a 10 kilometre
(6.25 mile) radius, restricting movements of vehicles and people
and carrying out emergency disinfection.
They have also stepped up inspections of wild birds and urged
poultry businesses to take extra precautions such as erecting nets
around their farms to keep wild birds out.
The avian influenza outbreak is likely to further strain the
country's health system, which has already been struggling to
contain swine flu and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) cases across
South Korea has been hit by avian influenza three times, with the
last outbreak in April 2008.
In 2008, South Korea had to cull more than eight million birds to
curb the virus, resulting in damages estimated at 200 billion won
(194 million dollars at the time).
Four people were confirmed to have been infected with the bird flu
virus in late 2003 in South Korea but they showed few symptoms,
health authorities said.