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S. Korea confirms 2 more bird flu outbreaks

South Korea on Sunday confirmed two additional bird flu outbreaks in areas near Seoul despite nationwide efforts to stem the spread of the disease.

The farm ministry said the new cases were reported at a medium-sized duck farm and a small poultry farm that raises chickens and ducks, which reported symptoms earlier in the week.

All 8,400 birds on the two farms in Hwaseong south of Seoul and Dongducheon north of the capital have been culled and buried, with other bird farms within a 3-kilometer radius being checked for infections.

The outbreaks are the first to be confirmed since a chicken farm that raised 35,000 birds tested positive for the virulent H5N1 strain on Wednesday, and the 42nd and 43rd outbreaks reported in the past 45 days.

Since Dec. 31 when the first two avian influenza outbreaks were confirmed, Seoul reported cases in five provinces with 5.45 million birds being destroyed at 249 farms so far.

Before the latest series of outbreaks, South Korea was hit by AI three times before, with the last cases occurring in April 2008 and resulting in a record 8.46 million birds being culled at a cost of around 264 billion won (US$235 million). Other outbreaks took place in the winter months of 2003-2004 and 2006-2007. (Yonhap News)
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