By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's agricultural ministry said Friday it is investigating a new suspected case of highly pathogenic bird flu traced to a poultry farm, with the total caseload here approaching nearly 70.
The latest suspected case of the malign H5N8 strain of avian influenza came from an egg farm in Icheon, just south of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
The country has confirmed 68 cases of contagious bird flu since late November, when it reported the first such case in nearly three years.
The spread of the disease among wild birds has continued to strain South Korea's efforts to curb additional infections.
Since late October, the country has identified 94 cases of highly pathogenic bird flu from wild bird habitats.
The local price of poultry products continued to increase as South Korea culled more birds.
Authorities have destroyed nearly 20 million poultry as they have culled all birds within a 3-kilometer radius of infected farms.
The average consumer price of eggs over the past week was up 23.9 percent from the previous year. Prices of chicken and duck meat also rose 15.2 percent and 19.8 percent, respectively, over the period.
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