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Ciptapangan Visitor
Fresh bird flu case confirmed in S. Korea
posted by admin on 12/03/07

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- A fresh case of the highly-virulent bird flu was discovered at a poultry farm south of Seoul Thursday for the first time in a month, government officials said.

"Highly-virulent avian influenza was confirmed at a breeding farm in the city of Cheonan after tests by the National Veterinary Research Quarantine Service," quarantine officials from South Chungcheong Province said.

Just two months earlier, a similar case occurred at a different farm in Cheonan, 92 km south of Seoul.

Authorities started an investigation into the fresh case Tuesday, when a farmer reported that about 30 ducks at the farm died of an unknown cause, officials said, adding that the remaining 13,000 on the farm will be slaughtered.

The authorities are currently preparing to slaughter some 35,000 birds at four poultry farms within a 500-meter radius of the outbreak, but have yet to decide on whether to cull about 20,000 ducks at a farm within a 3-km radius of where the bird flu case was detected.

The transfer of some 1.6 million birds at 56 poultry farms within a 10-km radius of the outbreak to other areas is barred, the officials said.

This case is the seventh bird flu outbreak since Nov. 25, 2006, when the first outbreak was reported on a poultry farm in Iksan, about 230 kilometers south of Seoul. The latest outbreak was reported on Feb. 10 in Anseong, about 15 kilometers north of Cheonan.

The Geneva-based World Health Organization believes the virus can mutate into a highly-virulent strain that can be easily be transmitted among humans if left unchecked.

More than 250 people have been infected by the virus since 2003, of whom at least 161 are believed to have died from the disease, it said.

In 2003 and 2004, South Korea destroyed more than 5 million poultry to curb the spread of the disease. No South Korean has yet to be infected.

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