|Over 400,000 chickens and ducks have been culled in livestock farms within a 3 kilometer radius of a duck farm in Jeongup, North Jeolla Province, after H5N8 avian influenza was found during a pre-shipment test from the farm, Nov. 26. Yonhap|
The government confirmed the first case of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza among domestic poultry at a duck farm in a southwestern province, Saturday.
The agriculture ministry said the virus was detected in ducks at a farm in Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province, about 290 kilometers south of Seoul, in a pre-shipment test conducted Thursday
All previous cases reported so far this year involved wild birds. This is the first time in two years and eight months that the highly pathogenic bird flu has broken out at a local poultry farm.
The Jeongeup farm was breeding about 19,000 broiler ducks; and there are six other poultry farms within a radius of 3 kilometers, and 60 within 3 to 10 kilometers.
The ministry said it has already taken preemptive measures, including access control and preventive culling, after sending an emergency response team to the concerned farm.
It added that a lockdown order had been issued for all poultry farms and livestock facilities nationwide, which took effect at midnight and will last for 48 hours.
For poultry farms in Jeongeup, the lockdown order will be effective for seven days.
The ministry has also banned the trade of live chicks and ducks at all traditional markets nationwide and mandated them to close Wednesdays for disinfection. It also urged all poultry farms nationwide to strengthen their daily sterilization work and take all possible measures to preserve the quarantine.
The H5N8 avian flu strain is highly contagious and can cause severe illness and even death in poultry.
The North Jeolla provincial government announced Saturday that it has culled about 392,000 chickens and ducks at livestock farms located within the 3 kilometers of the Jeongeup farm as part of its preventive measures.
The poultry culled were 292,000 chickens and 100,000 ducks, it said, adding all 19,000 ducks at the Jeongeup farm had already been slaughtered.
"Areas within a 10-km radius of the Jeongeup farm have been designated as an intensive quarantine zone. Quarantine equipment and helicopters have been mobilized to strengthen disinfection in the areas," a provincial official said. (Yonhap)