Asia Pacific / Science & Health

South Korea temporarily bans movement of poultry as it ramps up fight against bird flu

Reuters, Staff Report

South Korea’s agriculture ministry said Monday it will issue a temporary nationwide ban on the transportation of poultry to contain the spread of bird flu, with 43 outbreaks recorded in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement that the movement control order will be effective for 48 hours, from midnight Monday in Seoul.

Since the first outbreak of a severe strain of bird flu known as H5N6 was reported on Nov. 18., South Korea has ramped up quarantine measures to stop a wider spread of the virus, including issuing a 48-hour nationwide standstill order three weeks ago.

A total of 43 bird flu outbreaks had been confirmed as of Sunday, with another nine possible cases being tested, according to the ministry statement.

To prevent the spread of bird flu, the ministry said at least 8.8 million farm birds were culled and plans to slaughter 1.5 million more. That will be over 10 percent of the country’s poultry population of nearly 85 million.

Although cases of human infections from the H5N6 virus have previously been reported elsewhere, including China, no cases of human infection have been found in South Korea.

In Japan, an outbreak of highly contagious bird flu was confirmed at two duck farms in the city of Aomori late last month. Work to cull and bury all birds at two farms wrapped up last week.

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