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(LEAD) S. Korea investigating 2 suspected cases of bird flu from farms

All News 16:29 December 07, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES throughout; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Monday it is investigating two suspected cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) from local poultry farms, amid growing concerns over the virus spreading nationwide.

Local authorities are currently looking into a suspected case from a quail farm located in Eumseong, 131 kilometers south of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The farm was raising 726,000 birds.

The country was also investigating another suspected highly pathogenic bird flu case at an egg farm in Yeoju of Gyeonggi Province from Sunday.

South Korea issued a standstill order for all poultry farms in Gyeonggi Province, banning them from moving birds as well as related automobiles for the next 48 hours through early Wednesday.

The province has also launched a process to cull 193,000 chickens from the suspected farm in Yeoju in a precautionary measure.

Quarantine officials prepare to cull ducks from a poultry farm in Yeongam, 308 kilometers south of Seoul, on Dec. 6, 2020, after it reported a highly pathogenic avian influenza case. (Yonhap)

So far, the country has confirmed three highly pathogenic AI cases from poultry farms, including the latest case reported from a duck farm in Yeongam, 308 kilometers south of Seoul, on Saturday.

To prevent the disease from spreading to other regions, the country culled all poultry within a 3-km radius of the infected farm, destroying around 500,000 birds.

The first farm-related case of this year came from Jeongeup, 290 km south of Seoul, on Nov. 28, followed by a second case in Sangju, 270 km southeast of the capital city, on Wednesday.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza is contagious and can cause severe illness and even death in poultry.

South Korea reported its first highly pathogenic AI case in 32 months in late October from Cheonan, 92 km south of Seoul, from wild birds.

Since then, the country has confirmed 15 cases from the wild.

Quarantine officials prepare to cull chickens and ducks from a poultry farm in Yeoju, 105 kilometers south of Seoul, on Dec. 7, 2020. (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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