Massive duck slaughter in S. Korea as disease panic grows

Massive duck slaughter in S. Korea as disease panic grows

Thousands upon thousands of ducks have been slaughtered, a major blow to the farming industry there.

South Korean authorities are scrambling after bird flu was discovered in ducks on a poultry farm near the nation’s capital of Seoul.

South Korea had just declared itself free of bird flu a month ago, and the last discovery of bird flu was four months ago, according to a Reuters report.

It’s the same strain as the one found in November: H5N8. A total of 11,604 ducks were killed at the farm, which is located in the city of Icheon east of Seoul.

South Korea had stopped exporting poultry to Hong Kong after struggling with bird flu, and had only recent started exporting again, so this discovery comes as quite a blow to the farming industry there.

And it’s not just bird flu, according to the report. There was also an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in pigs back in January.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that avian influenza of subtype H5N8 were introduced into South Korea in 2014 likely due to wild birds. This disease was soon spread to farms, causing significant outbreaks that authorities are seeming to have trouble handling effectively.

Related viruses have been found in China, but it doesn’t appear to have spread beyond eastern Asia except in a recent isolated case in Germany.

Stopping the avian flu requires aggressive methods, including “culling affected flocks, [which] has been effective in stopping further spread of this virus to other poultry farms,” according to a CDC study, which examined an outbreak of H5N8 in Germany and concluded that the infection came from East Asia. “Epidemiologic investigations revealed no definite route of introduction of the virus but have excluded incursion by infected turkey eggs or poults; contaminated water, feed, or litter; and vehicles or persons having contact with infected premises in South Korea or East Asia. Introduction by infected wild birds, perhaps facilitated by contaminated litter, feed, water, fomites, or other substance cannot be excluded because an internationally recognized site frequented by wild birds is near the affected turkey farm.”

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