Avian flu is detected on big firm’s duck farm

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Avian flu is detected on big firm’s duck farm

The South Korean government said Saturday the avian influenza (AI) virus has been detected at a poultry farm operated by a local conglomerate located in the southern part of the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the H5 strain of bird flu was discovered on a farm with around 12,300 ducks in Gochang, 296 kilometers (184 miles) southwest of Seoul.

The government said it is currently carrying out epidemiological investigations and slaughtering the livestock as a preventive measure.

The ministry said it will check to see if the virus is highly pathogenic, with the result expected by Tuesday.

Low pathogenic AI strains cause only mild symptoms and may easily go undetected, while highly pathogenic subtypes spread rapidly across poultry farms and cause serious problems, experts said.

“Although the duck farm is owned by a conglomerate, we cannot reveal the name until we get the result of the test,” an official from the ministry said.

The ministry also advised local residents to refrain from making visits to poultry farms or wild bird sanctuaries.

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon ordered the ministry to “utilize all available resources” to prevent the spread of the flu.

“[The agriculture ministry] should promptly carry out epidemiological investigations on the route of infections. It should also focus efforts on thoroughly rolling out preventive actions by prohibiting movement of livestock and disinfecting farms,” Lee said.

The prime minister also requested the environment and agricultural ministries to exchange information on wild birds on a real-time basis.

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