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Korea cautions visitors to China against bird flu

The Korea Centers for Disease Prevention and Control on Thursday cautioned travelers to China of avian influenza.

The move came days after a case of death from bird flu infection was reported last week in Shenzen, southern China. The authorities said a lethal strain of the influenza is unlikely to spread to Korea but they will keep an eye on migratory birds’ movements.

“We are banning travelers from visiting farms or places reported in the avian influenza breakout in China. We also advise people to refrain from going to poultry farms or stores. Visitors to China should wash their hands often. If they suffer a high fever of over 38 degrees Celsius, severe cough or sore throat, they should immediately report to the quarantine authorities upon arrival and consult their doctors,” the administration said in a press release.

The Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries issued warnings to all quarantine offices to strengthen monitoring of the flu, especially at border checkpoints. Passenger luggage from China will be thoroughly checked, too. The country has banned poultry imports from China and Hong Kong.

In a farm in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, about 110 ducks were found dead earlier this year and the authorities said they showed symptoms of the influenza, or A(H5N1). The examination results are to be announced on Saturday.

The Agriculture Ministry asked all poultry farms to take disinfection steps every week and monitor the poultry every day while restricting visits from outside.

Korea has been declared avian influenza-free since September 2011. According to the World Health Organization, 574 people from 15 countries have been infected with A(H5N1), and 337 of them had died as of Thursday. The death in China has yet been included in the report.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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