South Korea has downgraded its bird flu alert status and lifted a movement ban on local poultry farms as no additional cases have been reported in over a month, the agriculture ministry said Thursday.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it lowered the avian influenza alert status from "serious" to "caution" and released a standstill order on farms in 20 regions.
South Korea strengthened bird flu quarantine measures to prevent further spread of the animal disease since the first outbreak at a duck farm in North Jeolla Province in November. Since then, a total of 22 cases broke out up until March 17 and 6.54 million poultry were culled, according to the ministry.
|A quarantine official disposes of chickens infected with bird flu in Pyeongtaek, southwest of Seoul, on March 19, 2018. (Yonhap)|
The ministry said it will also consider lifting the alert status on foot-and-mouth disease as no suspicious cases have been detected in nearly a month and quarantine authorities have recently completed vaccinations on pigs.
South Korea confirmed two FMD cases at two hog farms in Gimpo, west of Seoul, on March 26 and April 1, and has slaughtered over 10,000 pigs across the nation.
They were the first confirmed cases in the country of the rare A-type FMD, prompting the quarantine authority to import vaccines specially designed to combat the virus.
FMD is an acute infectious viral disease of livestock that causes fever followed by the development of vesicles chiefly in the mouth and on the feet. It is one of the most infectious diseases for livestock and can spread rapidly if uncontrolled. (Yonhap)