November 27, 2006


South Korea culls poultry as H5N1 virus confirmed


South Korea's agriculture ministry announced Saturday (Nov 25) test results confirmed the outbreak was caused by a  'highly pathogenic' form of the H5N1 virus.


Last week, the outbreak killed some 6,500 chickens at the farm.


South Korea began culling poultry on six farms in the southwestern part of the country over the weekend.


Top health officials of the country are meeting to discuss measures to block the spread of the virus, officials said.


Following guidelines approved by the National Security Council, the government began culling 236,000 chickens and ducks at six farms within a 500-metre radius of the first infected farm in Iksan, North Cholla Province.


The authorities expanded the boundaries of the surveillance zone to a 10-kilometre radius of the outbreak site, and extra culling may be carried out based on test results on livestock within the 3-kilometre radius quarantine zone.


Park said the ministry would compensate farmers whose poultry are to be slaughtered.


Anticipating the free-fall in demand of chicken and duck meat that would ensue due to the outbreak, the ministry is launching a publicity campaign to emphasize the fact that chickens are completely safe if cooked at a temperature higher than 70 degrees centigrade.


It is also bending over backwards to assure consumers bird flu is not transmissible  between people. The Prime Minister himself assured the public there is no possibility that contaminated poultry would be circulating in the market. 


In 2003 and 2004, South Korea killed 5.3 million poultry to halt the spread of the disease.