S Korea ex­pands cull to con­tain bird flu

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -


South Korea said yes­ter­day it was ex­pand­ing a ma­jor bird flu cull to try and con­tain a dam­ag­ing out­break that has con­tin­ued to spread dur­ing an all-con­sum­ing po­lit­i­cal cri­sis.

Since the first case of the highly path­o­genic H5N6 virus was con­firmed in mid-Novem­ber, an­other 43 cases have been re­ported and close to 10 mil­lion chick­ens and ducks have al­ready been slaugh­tered in farms across the coun­try.

In a state­ment, the agriculture min­istry an­nounced plans to cull an ad­di­tional 2.5 mil­lion birds, mak­ing it the worst bird flu out­break since 2014 when nearly 14 mil­lion were slaugh­tered. The an­nounce­ment came a day af­ter health author­i­ties is­sued a sec­ond na­tion­wide “stand­still” or­der-ef­fec­tively re­strict­ing work­ers at poul­try farms from mov­ing around the coun­try for 48 hours in an ef­fort to stop the virus from spread­ing.

There have been no cases of hu­man in­fec­tions from H5N6 in South Korea, al­though the virus killed six peo­ple in China be­tween 2014 and April 2016. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion warned ear­lier this year that the strain has caused “se­vere in­fec­tion” in hu­mans.

The cur­rent out­break has co­in­cided with a deep­en­ing po­lit­i­cal cri­sis that saw the im­peach­ment last week of Pres­i­dent Park Geun-Hye and has par­a­lyzed her ad­min­is­tra­tion. —AFP

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