Yesterday, in MAFRA: South Korea On Bird Flu Alert, we saw reports of suspected HPAI in two farms in Southwestern Korea. Today MAFRA confirms the detection of HPAI H5N8 (see Naju in Jeonnam Gangjin and confirmed, AI suspected highly pathogenic duck), making these the first new outbreaks in that country since mid-June.
An English language report is also published in the Korea Herald.
Updated : 2015-09-18 17:59
South Korea on Friday confirmed two cases of avian influenza in the country for the first time in more than three months. The Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said ducks at farms in Naju and Gangjin, some 350 kilometers and 400km southwest of Seoul, respectively, tested positive for avian influenza (AI).
The ministry has dispatched a quarantine team to the sites and started to restrict the movement of animals, people and vehicles at the farms for 24 hours.
A combined 14,800 ducks have been slaughtered to prevent the possible spread of the disease, it added.
It is the first time for South Korea to report an outbreak of AI since June 10. (Yonhap)
We are not quite twenty months since the first major outbreak of HPAI H5N8, also in Korea, was reported. Up until then, this HPAI subtype had only rarely been detected in China. But in January of 2014, the virus was reported in Korean poultry farms and wild birds, and began to spread like wildfire. The map below shows its progress during the first 60 days.
60 day Spread of H5N8 - Map Credit Japan’s MAFF
By April of last year, H5N8 had turned up (briefly) in Japan, likely carried in my migratory birds. But by summer, Korea had its outbreaks under control, and Japan’s outbreaks turned out to be short lived.
H5N8 reappeared in late September of 2014 on the Korean peninsula, but the big surprise came in early November when it jumped nearly 8,000 km, turning up first in Germany, followed by the Netherlands and the UK. A month later, it was detected in North America, and began the largest and most expensive HPAI outbreak in America’s history.
Although outbreaks have been reported over the summer in Taiwan, we’ve not seen any new reports from hard hit Korea or North America in nearly 90 days. Today’s report may be the first sign that H5N8’s summer hiatus is coming to a close.
Over the next month or so - as temperatures in the Northern hemisphere begin to decline - poultry interests from Asia, to Europe, to North America will need to be beefing up their biosecurity in order to be ready of its expected return.