Confirmed and suspected bird flu cases increase ahead of Lunar New YearUpdated: 2014-01-29 AM 3:53:39 (KST)
Two confirmations of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus were made on Tuesday.
One at a duck farm in Jincheon, which is in Korea's central Chungcheongbuk-do Province, and another further south in Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do Province.
This has prompted authorities to decide to cull all ducks and chickens within 500-meter and 3-kilometer radiuses of the affected farms, respectively.
A duck farm in Seocheon, Chungcheongnam-do has a suspected case, as does a chicken farm in the city of Pyeongtaek in Korea's central Gyeonggi-do Province, although authorities are saying that preliminary autopsy results suggest there is a good chance the chickens were NOT contaminated with the AI virus.
While confirmed or suspected flu cases have hit the Jeolla-do, Chungcheong-do and Gyeonggi-do provinces so far, officials in Gyeongsangnam-do in the southeast of the country say migratory bird droppings have tested positive for a flu virus, but it's not yet sure whether it is the avian influenza virus.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs says that, in past bird flu epidemics, the virus has often broken out in the west coast regions and gradually spread inland.
Meanwhile, Lee Dong-phil , the Agriculture Minister said the spread can be halted if everyone works together.
"I ask for your active cooperation in preventive measures during trips to your hometowns this Lunar New Year holiday, even if it's inconvenient."
Minister Lee asked people to avoid visiting poultry farms and migratory bird habitats if possible.
Officials from the government, the ruling Saenuri Party, and the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to coordinate efforts as they try to stem the spread of the bird flu outbreak.
Kwon Soa, Arirang News.
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