Two more H5N6 avian influenza outbreaks in South Korea, authorities cull thousands of birds

South Korean health officials bury chickens at a poultry farm where the highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu virus broke out in Haenam, South Korea, on Nov 17, 2016.
South Korean health officials bury chickens at a poultry farm where the highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu virus broke out in Haenam, South Korea, on Nov 17, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL - South Korea confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic bird flu at two more poultry farms on Tuesday (Nov 22), taking the number of confirmed H5N6 avian influenza cases in the country to four.

The virus was discovered at duck farms in Cheongju, in North Chuncheong Province, and Muan, South Jeolla Province, said the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, reported Yonhap news agency.

Some 22,000 ducks were killed in Muan and 8,500 in Cheongju to prevent the possible spread of the disease, according to veterinary authorities.

The latest outbreaks come four days after the H5N6 avian influenza virus was detected at a chicken farm in Haenam, South Jeolla Province, and a duck farm in Eumseong, in North Chungcheong Province. Those cases resulted in about 40,000 chickens and 22,000 ducks being culled.

 

This is the first time that the H5N6 virus has been found in South Korea, which has previously seen outbreaks of the H5N1 and H5N8 avian influenza strains. The H5N6 virus has been previously seen in China, Vietnam, Laos and Hong Kong. In 2014, China reported that a human had been infected by H5N6.

The ministry has dispatched a quarantine team to the sites and begun to restrict the movement of animals, people and vehicles at the farms.

Separately, the authorities are trying to determine whether avian influenza detected at farms in Yangju and Gimje was the H5N6 strain, with the results expected on Wednesday (Nov 23), reported Yonhap.