December 23, 2003



South Korea Bird Flu Hit Southern Poultry Base


The bird flu outbreak in South Korea has spread beyond a quarantined zone, hitting the country's southern poultry base, the Agriculture Ministry said yesterday.


Last week, the ministry confirmed new outbreaks of the highly contagious disease at poultry farms more than 200km away from the site of the initial outbreak.


A total of 9 farms were confirmed hit by the H5N1 virus, after announcement on the fresh outbreaks of the bird flu.


As of yesterday, about 950,000 chickens and ducks had been slaughtered or were destined to be culled to contain the spread of the disease, the ministry added.


But the new outbreaks were frustrating government efforts to contain the spread of the bird flu within a quarantine zone in a 10km radius from where the disease was initially reported at a chicken farm in Umseong, 130km south-east of Seoul.


Since the flu outbreak, chicken prices have slumped in South Korea, with a slowdown in chicken exports and a plunge in domestic consumption of poultry.