December 11, 2008

South Korea enforces strict measures amid Hong Kong bird flu outbreak


South Korea's Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is implementing stringent measures including decontamination of facilities and keeping tabs on bird deaths to prevent a bird flu outbreak.


This came on the heels of an outbreak of bird flu in Hong Kong's poultry farm where 60,000 chickens were found dead from the H5N1 virus.


All poultry farmers were instructed to carry out preventive decontamination and immediately report if there were any sudden increase in bird deaths.


Vehicles used to transport birds would be frequently disinfected and people are discouraged from visiting bird sanctuaries.


The government noted that past bird flu outbreaks in the country were caused by migratory birds flying to Siberia and China. 


No virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu has been found in recent months, although there have been cases of the less dangerous H5N2 types of avian influenza detected in bird sanctuaries in the Jeolla region, located on the country's southwestern coast.


The H5N1 avian influenza hit the country three times. The latest outbreak occurred in April and a record 8.46 million birds were culled at the cost of around 264 billion won (US$176 million).


Customs inspectors and quarantine service officials were also ordered to carefully check people and luggage arriving from Hong Kong, with an emphasis to check for processed poultry meat.

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