Following a nine-day lull, South Korea has again been affected by a bird flu strain and as a result has stepped up quarantine efforts to contain further spread.
Following a nine-day lull, South Korea has again been affected by a bird flu strain and as a result has stepped up quarantine efforts to contain further spread.A tight quarantine zone has been established around a poultry farm in Yangsan, 390 kilometres south-east of Seoul, where health authorities detected the bird flu virus on Monday, the agriculture ministry said.It was South Korea’s first confirmed outbreak in nine days.The highly contagious disease appeared to have been brought under control last month after hitting 15 areas nationwide, forcing the slaughter of nearly 2 million chickens and ducks.”We are culling all chickens in the affected area with the movement of poultry strictly restricted,” Kim Chang-Seob, head of the ministry’s animal health division, told AFP.The new case prompted government officials to strengthen quarantine efforts in other areas, he said, adding the virus could survive in dust for two weeks and for at least 35 days in excrement. Some 1.8 million of poultry including chickens and ducks have been culled since the disease surfaced on December 15. South Korean health authorities have suggested this strain could be a variant which poses no harm to humans. Nonetheless poultry consumption has plunged, sending chicken prices plummeting.Chicken exports have also slowed with China, Hong Kong and Japan banning the import of poultry or bird products from South Korea. According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus can spread from poultry to people but not easily from person to person. (Source: ABC Health News, Jan 2004)