As mentioned last week (see Ahead Of Festival, H5N8 Detected In Korean Live Markets), HPAI H5N8 has already returned to South Korean farms and markets this fall, and today the Korean Ministry of Agriculture (MAFRA) has announced stepped up measures to try to control its spread.
With at least 7 outbreaks reported since September 18th, MAFRA has decided to impose an 8-month long AI control protocol to begin October 1st and run through May 31st of 2016.
Although somewhat syntax challenged when translated, you can read the official statement (in Korean) at After Thanksgiving holiday biosecurity, quarantine measures Special chongryeok. Luckily we have local local English Language reporting that provides somewhat clearer details.
First, this report from KBS World Radio.
Write : 2015-09-30 18:05:21 Update : 2015-09-30 18:06:13
The government will take special quarantine measures to prevent the spread of avian influenza (AI) after seven cases were recently reported in South Jeolla Province.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said on Wednesday that it will set up a task force and take special quarantine measures for the next eight months from October 1 to May 31 next year to prevent the spread of AI and the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
The ministry said that it will set a date to disinfect traditional markets and shut down shops selling poultry products at the markets immediately if AI cases are confirmed there.
Since the bird flu virus was reported at duck farms in Naju and Gangjin in South Jeolla Province on September 18, some 27-thousand poultry have been culled.
From the Korean Herald, we get a longer report that suggests the return of AI this fall may have been due to a reactivation of a `dormant’ virus, and not a fresh introduction. If so, this would speak to persistence of the virus in the environment.
The government will ramp up efforts to monitor local poultry farms and the distribution network of ducks and chickens to prevent the further spread of avian influenza, officials said Wednesday.
"The latest outbreaks are not from a new outside source, but came from a virus that had stayed dormant for the past few months," the official said.
Close inspections of the affected areas show that local poultry middlemen may have inadvertently spread the virus, he said.
Authorities are in the process of checking some 270 facilities and bird farms these middlemen visited to check for AI, the official added. Seoul has ordered all poultry agents to register with authorities following past outbreaks.
"It is likely that new bird flu cases will be reported in the future," Lee warned.