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Migratory birds most likely to have brought AI virus to Korea

Updated: 2014-01-20 20:39:27 KST
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We begin this evening with the latest on a bird flu outbreak here in Korea
It's been more than four days now since the first avian influenza case since 2011 was discovered on two farms in the south of the country.
The government is making all out efforts to contain the damage and prevent more cases.
For the details, we now connect live to our Kwon Soa at the news center.
Soa, what can you tell us?

Good evening, guys.
The biggest question right now concerning the bird flu in the country is probably its origin.
Now authorities are saying that it's most likely that migratory ducks brought the virus here.
It's been confirmed that a baikal teal, a migratory type of duck was infected with the H-5-N-8 strain of avian influenza.
A group of dead ducks found in a reservoir near a poultry farm in Gochang, Jeolla-do Province were infected with the H5N8, as well as in poultry farms in the same area and Buan.
The first case was confirmed last week, and the number stands now at three.
The AI outbreak has the government on high alert.
To stop the spread, for the first time ever they have issued a 48-hour standstill on the movement of any livestock and farm workers.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said earlier in the evening that the ban will be lifted at midnight as planned.
Around 1-hundred-20-thousand ducks have been culled for preventive measures, and more ducks and chickens could be killed in the coming days, as there are fears the AI virus could spread nationwide.

So, how dangerous is this H5-N8 virus, and could it have any affects on humans?

It appears that we do not have to worry about our health.
There has been not a single case of human infection by the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain so far.
The virus is different from the H5N1, which has resulted in over 370 human deaths since 2003, and the H7N9 virus, that was infected humans this year in China for the first time and killed at least 45 people.
There have also been questions about whether it is safe to eat poultry and eggs.
In fact, consumers have purchased less poultry products over the last couple of days.
Health authorities say however, that food products are safe, because there is hardly any chance that the infected products will enter the market, and even if they do, the virus is destroyed once cooked.

Good to know.., but what measures will be taken by the government to prevent the spread of the virus?

Well, the government held an emergency meeting this Monday, and apart from the standstill, nationwide measures have been discussed for migratory bird sites and poultry farms.
SterilIzation locations have been increased in the southern part of the country in the Jeolla-do, Chungcheongnam-do and Gyeongsangnam-do provinces, and also further north in Gyeonggi-do.
The military as well as the police are chipping in as well by controlling traffic at restricted locations and supplying sterilization equipment.
Also, the National Assembly's agriculture committee will meet in Sejong City on Thursday to discuss the matter.

That was our Kwon So-a reporting live from the news center on the bird flu outbreak here in Korea.


Reporter : amho88@naver.com

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