South Korea raised the country’s bird flu alert status on Wednesday to its second-highest level. This raise is due to three more outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain after the first cases were confirmed last week. A study to find out whether it is highly pathogenic is underway. South Korea confirmed the virus outbreak in the three specific regions of Yangju namely Gyeonggi-do Province, Eumseong County in Chuncheongbuk-do Province and Haenam in Jeollanam-do Province this year.
South Korea Raises Bird Flu Alert
According to Fortune, the bird flu outbreaks were discovered at two duck farms in the central and southwestern regions of the country, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday. All 30,500 ducks at the farms have been culled. One more case was confirmed on Tuesday and the second earlier on Wednesday. The third case was confirmed later on Wednesday at a chicken farm in the city of Yangju, about 38 kilometers north of Seoul, the ministry said.
Gyeonggi-do is the most populous province in South Korea. Gyeonggi means "the area surrounding capital". As recorded by the Gyeonggi-do provincial government, over 15,000 birds had been separated to prevent the spread of the flu virus. It was after a report of suspected deaths of 240 chickens at a poultry farm in Yangju on Sunday. A "movement control order" was issued within a radius of 10 kilometers around the farm, where 770,000 chickens and ducks at 119 farms should be buried.
Pocheon is a inland city in the far northeastern region of Gyeonggi province in South Korea. It has a population of 160,176 people, according to the 2008 census. Pocheon is also on alert, as it is considered as home to the country’s largest poultry farms, where 180,000 chickens were culled. The outbreaks lasted for more than 660 days, killing at least 13 million birds. The ministry said it is also considering a temporary nationwide standstill order to prevent the virus from spreading.
Bird Flu In Other Countries
Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a viral infection spread from bird to bird. Currently, a particularly deadly strain of bird flu continues to spread among poultry in Egypt and in Asia. There have been previous bird flu cases in South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, since 2014. According to Pulse News, H5N6 detected first in Korea has been found in several Asian countries including China, Vietnam, Laos and Hong Kong. It has led to at least six deaths among 15 human infections in China.