S. Korea confirms first outbreak of bird flu among poultry in 2020

Seoul: South Korea has confirmed this year’s first cases of the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu in the southwestern province of Jeonbuk, the country’s Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said on Saturday.

According to the ministry, the flu was detected at a duck farm in the province’s city of Jeongeup, marking the first confirmed case of the flu in poultry this year. In late October, the Asian country registered cases of the H5N8 flu in wild birds, for the first time since 2018.

The ministry added that an urgent response team was sent to the farm that houses about 19,000 ducks, and all of the birds were culled. There are six other poultry farms within a radius of three kilometers (1.9 miles) from the farm.

The authorities have issued an order to stop any activities at poultry and livestock facilities, as well as the movement of poultry products across the country for 48 hours, while for poultry farms in Jeongeup, the blockage will last seven days, and for farms within a radius of 10 kilometers from the site of the outbreak 30 days. The national alert level over the spread of bird flu has been raised to a “serious hazard.”

Meanwhile, the South Korean Yonhap news agency reported that, as a preemptive measure, the province’s government would cull about 392,000 chickens and ducks at farms located within three kilometers of the Jeongeup duck farm.