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S. Korea confirms 73rd case of highly pathogenic bird flu

Officials inspect imported eggs at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Monday. (Yonhap)
Officials inspect imported eggs at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Monday. (Yonhap)
South Korea's agricultural ministry said Tuesday it has confirmed the 73rd case of highly pathogenic bird flu from a poultry farm, sparking concerns over a prolonged battle with the animal disease.

The latest case of the H5N8 strain of avian influenza came from a duck farm in Hampyeong, 383 kilometers south of Seoul, on the previous day, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The country reported its first farm-related case in nearly three years in November. Since then, the disease has been spreading quickly across the nation.

Authorities culled 22 million poultry under its policy of destroying all birds within a 3-kilometer radius of infected farms. The move has led to a sharp increase in the consumer price of related goods.

Over the past week, the price of eggs shot up 27 percent from a year earlier, while those of chicken and duck advanced 14.9 percent and 41.6 percent, respectively.

To stabilize the market price, South Korea recently decided to remove tariffs on 14,500 tons of imported fresh eggs through June, along with other related goods. The country normally slaps tariffs of around 8-30 percent on them.

Cases traced to wild birds also continued to grow, with the total reaching 101 as of Tuesday. (Yonhap)
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