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Korea strengthens measures to combat bird flu

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  • Korea strengthens measures to combat bird flu


    Korea strengthens measures to combat bird flu

    * Source: Xinhua
    * [10:50 March 01 2010]

    The South Korean government said Friday it will strengthen measures to prevent and combat outbreaks of avian influenza, as migratory birds are expected to begin flocking to the country.

    Following recent outbreaks of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a number of Southeast Asian countries, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said there is a chance of the Influenza A virus spreading to local chickens and ducks in the coming weeks as groups of migratory birds inhabit in those countries before spending March and April in South Korea.

    In particular, more attention will be paid to monitoring migratory birds in Heuksan and Hong islands in the Yellow Sea as those areas have been popular spots for birds flying to the north, it added.

    "We've issued enhanced monitoring measures for not only the 11 areas where the avian influenza have been confirmed in the past, but also 41 bird sanctuaries across the country," the ministry said in a statement.

    Also, state quarantine officials have been ordered to emphasize decontaminating vehicles that carry birds in the country as these vehicles have been proven to spread the disease in the past, while local farmers have been told to carry out regular sterilization twice a week from the present once a week process, according to the ministry.

    South Korea has seen the avian influenza outbreak three times in the past, during the winter months of 2003 and 2006, with the latest coming in April of 2008 that resulted in a loss of 264 billion won (227 million US dollars), the ministry said.