Dead storks found in a park near Seoul had AI virus

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Dead storks found in a park near Seoul had AI virus

Two storks found dead at Seoul Grand Park on Friday were infected with the H5N6 avian influenza virus (AI), the Seoul Metropolitan Government said Monday.

According to city officials, five mandarin ducks that were raised with the storks were also tested positive for the virus. Officials will cull all eight of the ducks found as a preventive step.

The government closed zoos Saturday, and they will stay closed until they are cleared of AI. The government said it will provide samples from 1,200 birds from the zoos to the National Institute of Environmental Research.

A total of 92 AI-related cases have been reported to the government and, among them, there were 76 birds legitimate cases of bird flu, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said Monday. Officials were still looking at 16 cases, as of Monday. The ministry said AI has hit every region in Korea except North and South Gyeongsang and the island of Jeju, and the strain is more contagious than the one that plagued the nation in 2014. For now, the possibility of human infection is low.

A total of 19.1 million birds from 336 farms have been or will be killed; 87 percent of them are chickens.

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