A dog was found to have been infected by the bird flu virus in Korea, the Agriculture Ministry said Friday, sparking concerns that the disease may affect mammals.
Meanwhile, avian influenza was also detected in a goose in Gwacheon, just outside Seoul. Authorities banned the movement of poultry in southern parts of Seoul after confirming the infection.
The dog at a poultry farm in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province tested positive for antibodies against the H5 avian influenza virus after eating infected chicken, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said.
No signs of AI symptoms were present, and a DNA test is currently underway to confirm the exact type of the virus.
The infection of a dog is the first such case documented in the country, the officials said.
“We’re carefully dealing with the issue, as this is the first time we’ve seen a suspected bird flu case in a dog. But it’s been thought that the disease is not transmittable between dogs,” an official told The Korea Herald.
The quarantine authorities said the affected dog was among three examined at the farm, where poultry infected with the H5N8 strain of bird flu were slaughtered last month.
Workers at the farm are also being examined by authorities to check for a possible human infection, the officials said.
The ministry’s announcement came a day after a dead bean goose infected with the H5 strain of bird flu was found in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province.
The case is the closest reported AI infection to the capital, adding to concerns that the disease is still spreading.
On Friday, the ministry imposed a “stand-still” order, banning all chickens and ducks from moving in and out of their facilities within a 10-kilometer radius of the discovery.
Under the order, about 188 poultry being raised in 16 houses in Gwacheon and Seoul’s Gangnam, Seocho, Dongjak and Gwanak will be prohibited from being moved outside. The authorities said there were no farms in the area.
Similar measures will be imposed on 57 farms not included in the 10-kilometer-radius quarantine zone to prevent the disease spreading further, the city government said.
The development has led a zoo in Seoul Grand Park, located about 1.4 kilometers north of the outbreak, to shut down indefinitely on Thursday. The zoo had recently reopened after being closed for a month on Jan. 31.
So far, a total of 33 cases of the H5N8 strain of avian influenza have been confirmed in the country since the first outbreak was detected on Jan. 16 in Gochang, North Jeolla Province.
More than 8.6 million poultry at 363 farms have been culled and 4.2 million more chickens and ducks will be slaughtered, the ministry said.
By Suk Gee-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)