South Korea slaughters 100,000 ducks as new bird flu cases emerge

Seoul, Nov 23 (IANS) The South Korean government on Wednesday confirmed the slaughter of almost 100,000 poultry birds in an attempt to thwart the spread of bird flu, as two new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza were detected bringing the total number of such cases in the country to four.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the new cases of the virus belonging to the H5N6 strain were discovered at a duck farm in Cheongju, roughly 84 kms from Seoul, and another in Muan, Efe news agency reported.

The two new cases forced farmers to cull 30,500 ducks in the two farms while enacting strict quarantine measures around the farms.

The massacre comes after an additional 40,000 chickens and 22,000 ducks were slaughtered at the farms last week following detection of the first two cases.

The incident marks the first outbreak of bird flu in South Korea since March and is also the first time that the H5N6 strain of the virus has been detected in the faeces of migratory birds visiting the central region of the country.

The largest outbreak of bird flu in South Korea in recent years forced authorities to slaughter more than 11 million animals, causing significant losses for the poultry sector.