South Korea gets tough on bird flu

South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has reported that it plans to implement a series of tough bird flu measures, beginning in November, aimed at preventing the virus from hitting the country during winter.

The plan involves increased quarantine and monitoring efforts to stop bird flu from coming into the country through imports of infected birds.
Imports of poultry and live birds are banned from China and Thailand, where outbreaks have been reported. Authorities said they will tighten the monitoring of products from other countries seen as high risk. South Korea banned all poultry imports from the US while birds in Michigan underwent testing for the disease.
Amid increased concerns that the virus could enter via migratory birds that travel south in the winter season, authorities said they will step up the monitoring of duck and chicken farms and take immediate action if a case is discovered.
If a bird flu case is reported, the government plans to quarantine an area up to 3 kilometers from the suspected site and destroy all birds that could have contracted the disease. Movement of birds from the region and the surrounding area will be forbidden for at least 30 days.
Agricultural quarantine officers will be placed in all international airports and sea terminals to enforce strict rules on travellers.
From December 2003 to March 2004, the government destroyed 5.3 million ducks and chickens that could have been affected by the deadly disease, at a cost of 150 billion South Korean won (125 million euro).
According to the latest World Health Organisation avian influenza statistics, there have been 256 cases of bird flu confirmed in humans, with 151 of these fatal. While several South Korean patients were tested positive for bird flu antibodies, no South Koreans have died of the disease, nor reported any symptoms.

Editor WorldPoultry

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