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Monitoring for Avian Flu Now Year-Round

by 5m Editor
22 July 2008, at 10:06am

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea will start monitoring wild birds and poultry farms for bird flu year-round.

The Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has announced that Korea will implement a system for year-round monitoring of poultry farms and bird habitats as well as set up new operating procedures to quickly contain any bird flu outbreaks, according to Korea Press Release Network.

The ministry said the monitoring of migratory and resident wild birds will be carried out on a regular basis, and all chicken and duck farms are to be checked every quarter for both the virulent and less contagious strains of avian influenza.

The decision, reached at a Cabinet meeting on 22 July, comes after quarantine authorities were caught off guard when an outbreak that began in early April swept through the country.

Korea previously maintained a heightened avian influenza alert from November to March, when migratory birds visit the country and weather conditions may contribute to the epidemic of the virus.

The government culled a record 8.46 million birds during the two-month outbreak at a cost of 264.1 billion won (KRW; $259.5 million). The state-run Korea Rural Economic Institute claimed in June that damages from the latest outbreak topped KRW630 billion. The figure includes losses from an overall drop in poultry consumption.

The ministry said there will be special monitoring of all 2,300 duck farms in the country because ducks have a longer incubation period for avian flu and were found to be the main cause of the spread of the disease. Chickens die more quickly from the illness.

5m Editor