South Korea hit with bird flu outbreak
The outbreak of avian influenza (AI), which is believed to be a case of the H5N8 strain, was detected on a duck farm in Icheon, which is about 80km from the South Korean capital.
It is the first discovery of the highly pathogenic avian influenza strain since November 2015, and comes a month after the country declared itself free of avian influenza.
Safety measures established
South Korea’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, which enforces biosecurity measures, confirmed the outbreak after carrying out tests at the farm.
Disease control measures have been set up to ensure South Korea swiftly manages the disease and can regain its bird flu-free status. Two control posts have been set up at roads leading into and out of Icheon, with all vehicles sprayed with disinfectant to stop the disease being carried on to other parts of the country.
On 13 March, South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed it was resuming poultry exports to Hong Kong after nearly two years. This was because the country had regained its bird-flu free-status on 18 February. This meant South Korea was now able to export chicken and duck meats, as well as eggs to Hong Kong, which banned poultry imports from South Korea in 2014 due to a bird flu outbreak.
Trade bans unclear
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs was unavailable to provide comment on whether the outbreak would result in any countries, such as Hong Kong, temporarily banning South Korean poultry imports.
In the past four months, South Korea has banned poultry imports from France and the US after cases of bird flu were detected in the respective countries.