South Korea quarantines poultry farms in 2 provinces over bird flu

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 January, 2014, 11:14pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 January, 2014, 11:14pm

South Korea has banned the movement of people who work with poultry and poultry products from two provinces after confirming an outbreak of H5N8 bird flu at farms in the country's south.

The flu strain is deadly for birds but no human infections have been reported.

Authorities have restricted movement in North Jeolla province, South Jeolla province and the city of Gwangju, about 240 kilometres from Seoul, for 48 hours, Lee Dong-phil, minister of the agriculture, food and rural affairs, said yesterday.

The ministry confirmed the first outbreak in Gochang, North Jeolla province, on Friday, and at a duck farm in nearby Buan county, according to separate statements on the ministry's website. South Korea has culled 90,000 birds at six farms within a 500-metre radius.

The H5N8 strain was previously identified in a 2010 case reported in China and it is largely similar to the H5N1 bird flu subtype, Yonhap said.

South Korea has had four outbreaks of the virus in the past 10 years, the most recent in 2011, which led to the slaughter of more than three million poultry.

Around 150 people in China have been infected by a new H7N9 strain of bird flu since it emerged there last year, of whom at least 46 have died.

Additional reporting by Reuters