South Korea confirms H5N8 bird flu in wild birds, issues warning

South Korean farmers shoot laser beams at migrant birds, in an effort prevent the spread of bird flu at livestock farms.
South Korean farmers shoot laser beams at migrant birds, in an effort prevent the spread of bird flu at livestock farms.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea's agriculture ministry said on Tuesday (Nov 10) it had confirmed the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of bird flu in samples from wild birds in the central west of the country and issued its bird flu warning.

The virus was discovered in samples collected from wild birds last week in Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do, about 84km central west of capital Seoul, the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it has ramped up prevention measures to contain a wider spread of bird flu and issued a highly pathogenic avian influenza warning as there are increased risks the virus will spread.

"This is a serious situation where the pollutant can flow from the migratory bird land to the farm though various routes," Agriculture Ministry Kim Hyeon-soo said in a statement, urging the thorough implementation of quarantine measures at farms, such as the daily disinfecting of farmyards.

Following a separate bird flu outbreak on Tuesday in the Netherlands, Dutch health officials ordered a cull of chickens.