South Korea said it has confirmed the outbreak of highly pathogenic bird flu cases at two poultry farms on Tuesday, increasing the number of confirmed H5N6 avian influenza (AI) virus cases in the nation to four.
The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs said the H5N6 AI virus was discovered at a duck farm in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, and at another duck farm in Muan, South Jeolla Province.
The veterinary authorities said some 22,000 ducks have been culled in Muan, 385 kilometers south of Seoul. They also slaughtered 8,500 ducks in Cheongju, 137 kilometers south of the capital, to prevent the possible spread of the disease.
The latest cases come about four days after the government confirmed the H5N6 AI virus at a chicken farm in Haenam, South Jeolla Province, and a duck farm in Eumseong, North Chungcheong Province, noting about 40,000 chickens and 22,000 ducks have been culled.
South Korea has reported H5N1 and H5N8 AI viruses in the past, but this is the first time to see the H5N6 AI virus, which has been detected in China, Vietnam, Laos and Hong Kong. Human infection by the H5N6 virus was previously reported from China in 2014.
The ministry said it has dispatched a quarantine team to the sites and started to restrict the movement of animals, people and vehicles at the farms. It also pledged to keep conducting quarantines and surveillance on poultry.
The authorities said they are currently verifying whether the AI virus found at the farms in Yangju and Gimje is H5N6. The result will come out on Wednesday. (Yonhap)