South Korea yesterday confirmed its first outbreak of bird flu in more than two years, with more than 100,000 birds slaughtered as authorities bid to contain the lethal virus.
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 by the H5N1 virus, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.
It marked the first time since April 2008 that the country has been hit by avian influenza, it said.
“All the 10,700 ducks at the farm in Cheonan and 17,000 breeding chickens at the farm in Iksan have already been culled and buried, together with 92,000 chickens raised at nearby farms,” the ministry said in a press statement.
Both farms have been placed under quarantine, with movements of vehicles and people restricted.
Tis news comes after Seoul confirmed three cases of the virulent H5N1 bird flu strain from wild migratory birds that arrived in the country for the winter early last month.
Health authorities have stepped up inspections of wild birds and urged poultry businesses to take extra precautions such as erecting nets around their farms to keep out wild birds.
Yoo Man-keun, a senior official in Cheonan City, said migratory birds were suspected of having transported the virus.
“Migrant birds are coming down to farms as they are unable to find food at their natural haunts,” Yoo told journalists. “We’ve put up scarecrows to scare them away, but all to no avail.”
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 (US$194 million at the time).
In the country’s 2003 to 2004 outbreak, 5.28 million birds were culled, while an outbreak from 2006 to 2007 resulted in 2.8 million birds being destroyed.
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.
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 the country.
A South Korean man has died from swine flu, becoming the country’s first reported human death from the virus this winter, health officials said on Thursday.
The 30-year-old man, who was taken to hospital after showing symptoms on Monday, died on Wednesday and tests showed he was infected with the A(H1N1) virus, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
As of yesterday, a total of 72 FMD cases had been reported across the country since Nov. 29, prompting the culling of more than 580,000 cloven-hoofed animals including cattle and pigs in the worst-ever such outbreak. The agriculture ministry has estimated losses due to the FMD outbreak at 400 billion won (US$355 million).
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete