A year of H5N8 In Korea – Credit Japan’s MAFF
This week marks the 1 year anniversary of the first detection of the newly emerged HPAI H5N8 virus on the Korean peninsula (see Media Reporting Korean Poultry Outbreak Due To H5N8), and despite the culling of more than 15 million birds and Korean farms having some of the best poultry biosecurity procedures in the world, the virus continues to resurface.
Reintroduction via wild and migratory birds has been largely blamed, but it is also possible that in some cases the virus is being spread inadvertently by the poultry trade (see Bird Flu Spread: The Flyway Or The Highway?).
Although other HPAI viruses are known to have spread via wild and migratory birds, the H5N8 virus appears to be unusually adept at this mode dispersal, having now shown up in Japan, Russia, China, Western Europe, and even the United States.
In addition to recurring avian influenza outbreaks, South Korea is also battling outbreaks of FMD (Food & Mouth Disease) once again – which according to the article below – has resulted in the detection of more than 50 cases since the beginning of December spread across 13 Korean cities and counties.
FMD is a highly contagious viral disease that primarily afflicts cloven-hoofed animals (including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, deer, etc.). Caused by a picornavirus, it has no relation to HFMD, which is a childhood disease in humans caused by a number of non-polio enteroviruses.
During the 2010-2011 FMD outbreak in South Korea, roughly 3.5 million animals were destroyed (151,425 cattle, 3,318,299 pigs, 8,071 goats, and 2,728 deer) and buried at more than four thousand locations around the country (EID Journal Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease during 2010–2011 Epidemic, South Korea).
The AI cases announced today are described as HPAI H5, and a final determination of the subtype will be announced over the next few days. Given the recent events in Taiwan, and the propensity of H5 viruses to reassort, there is always the chance that these outbreaks will end up being something other than H5N8.
Updated : 2015-01-14 19:58
An additional case of avian influenza has been confirmed in Busan, South Korea’s largest sea port, quarantine officials said Wednesday.
According to Busan municipal authorities and quarantine officials, chickens and geese that were found dead at a poultry farm on Tuesday all tested positive for the H5 strain of bird flu.
It said further tests are needed to determine whether they died from the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of the animal disease.
The confirmation marks the first time that Busan has reported a bird flu case since 2008.
Quarantine officials said 580 birds at the farm that raised geese, chickens and pigeons were all culled to prevent further spreading of the disease. It said four checkpoints have been set up around the poultry farm to disinfect cars and control the movement of people and animals.
In addition to the Busan case, quarantine officials said tests showed birds at a duck farm in Anseong, near Seoul, have tested positive for the H5 strain.
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