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Korea Confirms Detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

24 January 2014
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

SOUTH KOREA - The Korean government is in the midst of trying to contain the spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI, H5N8 type) among its poultry farms.

As of now, HPAI is confirmed in three farms located in North Jolla Province, located in the southwest side of the Korean peninsula. Prior to this incident, Korea’s last reported HPAI outbreak was 16 May 2011. This recent case will suspend all poultry exports from Korea until it can regain OIE status as being free from HPAI.

The first report of a suspected case of HPAI was reported on 16 January 2014 by a duck breeding farm located in Gochang-gun, North Jolla Province. The case was confirmed as HPAI (H5N8) on 18 January 2014. This type of HPAI represents the first time that it was found in Korea, as all previous cases (2003-2004, 2006-2007, 2008, and 2010-2011) were of H5N1 type.

Presently, there are no known cases of human beings being infected by H5N8 type of HPAI. According to the initial epidemiological investigation, the farm shipped ducklings to 24 duck farms located in 4 different provinces (a total of 173,000 ducklings) within the AI incubation period (a maximum of 21 days).

The truck that shipped ducklings to these farms also stopped by a slaughter plant after unloading the ducklings. The Korean government sent officials to all of the affected farms and the slaughter plant, stopped movement of ducks from these farms and conducted fumigation. The slaughter plant is temporarily shut down.

As for the farms where the confirmed case was found, the Korean government culled all of 21,000 heads on the farms. The government will also cull all of the poultry (four duck farms, 62,000 birds) located within a radius of 500 meters (about 547 yards) from the infected farm. It will also cull a poultry farm owned by the duck breeding farm located about 3 km away as a preventive measure.

On 16 January, a second suspected case of HPAI was reported by a duck farm located in Buhahn, North Jolla Province. The second farm is located 10.3 km (6.4 miles) away from the first farm in Gochang-gun, where HPAI was first confirmed. The birds being raised in 6 farms (90,000 birds) located within a radius of 500 meters from the second farm were also culled. This was also confirmed as H5N8 type HPAI on 19 January.

The Korean government also found around 100 dead migrant birds in a water reservoir located between the two farms. These birds were also confirmed as having been infected by HPAI (H5N8) on January 20. As a result, the Korean government assumes that the source of the HPAI confirmed in the duck farms came from the migrant birds.

On 18 January, a third case of HPAI was reported by a duck farm located 1.3 km (0.8 mile) south of the second farm in Buhahn. This was also confirmed as HPAI (H5N8) on 20 January.

In order to prevent any further spread of HPAI, the government announced a temporary suspension of all poultry movements within North and South Jolla province and Gwangju city for 48 hours from 00:00 hours on 19 January to midnight on 20 January. As no further cases were reported, the Korean government lifted the temporary suspension as of midnight 20 January.

A fourth suspected case of HPAI was reported on 21 January by a duck farm located in Gochang-gun, North Jolla Province. This farm is located 19 km (11.8 miles) away from the first farm. The fourth farm is owned by the same owner as the second farm located in Buhahn and compound feed trucks had moved back and forth between the two farms. A final confirmatory test result is expected on 23 January.

Further Reading

You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

ThePoultrySite News Desk

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