2.4 MILLION+ Chickens And Ducks Killed Due To Outbreak Of Avian Flu In South Korea

Two new suspected bird flu cases were reported in South Korea Saturday, stoking concerns that the highly pathogenic poultry disease may be spreading in the country, the agriculture ministry said.

According to the ministry, the additional suspected cases were reported at a chicken farm in the southern port city of Busan, and a duck farm in Jincheon, 90 kilometers south of Seoul.

A virulent H5N8 strain of avian influenza has so far been confirmed in 27 cases in South Korea since it was first detected on Jan. 16 in Gochang, 300 kilometers south of Seoul.

More than 2.4 million chickens and ducks have so far been culled.

The government has pointed to migratory birds as the original source of bird flu after the H5N8 virus was identified in a group of wild ducks found dead Jan. 17 at a reservoir near a duck farm that reported the first outbreak of AI. The highly pathogenic strain of bird flu has since been identified in 13 other cases that involved wild birds.

Health officials said the H5N8 strain, unlike a few other strains of bird flu, poses no immediate threats to humans. No human infection of the strain has been reported, they said.

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