Additional suspected cases of bird flu were reported over the Lunar New Year holiday despite the government’s continuous all-out quarantine efforts.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, two suspected cases were reported on Sunday in Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province and in Eumseong-gun, North Chungcheong Province. The duck farm in Eumseong-gun is 4 kilometers from Jincheon, where the infection was confirmed last Wednesday.
Chickens at a farm in Busan were also reported Saturday to have symptoms of bird flu. The farm is about 35 kilometers away from a poultry farm in Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province, where the virus was detected last Thursday.
As of Sunday afternoon, a total of 20 suspected bird flu cases were reported since the first outbreak on Jan. 16. Of the total, 13 were confirmed while three reports were negative. The remainder have yet to be verified.
Earlier last week, the first case of the virus in Gyeonggi Province was confirmed at a chicken farm in Hwaseong. The farm is located 15 kilometers southwest of Sihwaho Lake, a major stopping area for migratory birds. Gyeonggi Province has the largest number of poultry in the country.
The virus was also detected at two duck farms in Yeongam-gun, South Jeolla Province on Friday. It was confirmed that one of the farms bought ducks from a problematic farm in Gochang-gun, North Jeolla Province, where the current outbreak of bird flu was first detected. A dozen farms in other regions purchased ducks from the Gochang-gun farm, the ministry said.
The government banned the sale of live poultry at local markets on Thursday to keep the virus from spreading during the holiday. The ban will remain in place until Wednesday. Sterilization measures have been imposed on all live bird markets. Clinical tests will be mandatory for any poultry moving region to region for sale.
The ministry has tightened the quarantine measures since last month to stop the virus from spreading. All poultry within a 3-kilometer radius from virus-confirmed farms are culled immediately under the measures. Previously, only those within a 500-meter radius were slaughtered.
At least 2.4 million poultry have been culled so far.
By Lee Hyun-jeong (email@example.com)