GOCHANG, South Korea — The sudden death of 1,000 migratory birds in a reservoir in North Jeolla Province on Friday has drawn a rapid response by the Korean government looking to avoid another deadly bird flu outbreak like that experienced in 2011 and 2003.
‘Testing showed it was confirmed as H5N1 avian flu,’ Kwong Jae-Hwan, a senior ministry official, told reporters on Saturday.
The Animal Plant Quarantine agency euthanized and then buried more than 21,000 ducks on Saturday with officials saying that there were no other poultry farms within a 500-meter radius of the suspected outbreak and that consumers should not yet be concerned.
There are 17 poultry farms within a 3-kilometer radius, and 152 within a 10-kilometer radius, but no symptoms have been detected from those farms yet, said an official from North Jeolla province.
Local government officials suspect that outbreak may have come from a flock of migratory birds that flew over the area on Jan. 6 and that the disease was likely transmitted through the feces of the animals, which may have come from China, Vietnam or Australia –all three of whom have had highly pathogenic bird flu outbreaks since last November.
Avian Flu, also known as Bird Flu, is a virus which can spread through chickens, ducks and wild birds. The last outbreak in South Korea happened just two years ago in 2011, when more than six million poultry were culled at more than 280 farms across the country.
A growing health concern worldwide, Avian Flu has been known to cause death in humans. In January of last year China reported its second fatality due to bird flu in a month following other deaths in Vietnam and Cambodia