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Egg Shortage in South Korea After Bird Flu Prompts Large-Scale Culls

4 January 2017, at 12:00am

SOUTH KOREA - Over 30 million chickens and other birds have been culled so far as a result of South Korea's worst avian influenza outbreaks, according to reports from the region.

The Bangkok Post quoted these cull figures from Korean agriculture officials. The number of birds destroyed in a 2014 incursion of the disease, 14 million, pales in comparison with the current figures.

The first outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of avian influenza that is spreading around the country was only found there in October. This is not the same strain as the H5N8 version of the disease that has been causing chaos around Europe and Asia.

According to the Post, about a third of the country's layers have been culled, leading to severe egg shortages and skyrocketing prices.

South Korea has been in contact with several countries including the US to try and speed up sanitary certification to allow more egg imports, according to the Yonhap News Agency. Officials have lifted tariffs on egg products temporarily to aid this process. However, the high cost of importing egg products might still be prohibitive for Korean companies.