Credit Japan’s MAFF
While Korea continues to investigate their atypical pneumonia outbreak at an animal research laboratory (see Korean Respiratory Outbreak Investigation – Day 4), and struggles to bring closure to their 6-month long MERS ordeal (see Korean Government Delays Declaring End To MERS Outbreak), they find their battle on the bird flu front heating up again, with 14 outbreaks reported in the Southwestern part of the country since mid-September.
Published : 2015-11-02 13:53
The number of confirmed bird flu cases reported in the country has risen to 14 since mid-September, as quarantine authorities step up efforts to control the spread of the highly contagious disease, the government said Monday.
Since the first suspected avian influenza cases were reported on two duck farms on Sept. 14, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said two outbreaks have been confirmed in Gwangju, 329 kilometers south of Seoul, and 12 cases were reported in the surrounding South Jeolla Province.
As of Monday, 196,122 birds have been culled to prevent the spread of AI, it said. Most of the birds culled were ducks, although some chickens have been destroyed.
The ministry, which set up a task force to handle the outbreaks, said local poultry wholesalers and middlemen seem to be inadvertently spreading the bird flu virus as they move from one farm to another.
Although migratory birds no doubt deserve a good deal of blame for spreading avian influenza across long distances (see FAO On The Potential Threat Of HPAI Spread Via Migratory Birds), as we’ve discussed often (see Bird Flu Spread: The Flyway Or The Highway?) - when it comes to localized, lateral spread of the virus - poor biosecurity and the movement of poultry products, equipment, and personnel are often to blame.
Despite nearly two years of dealing with H5N8, and some very restrictive biosecurity procedures in place, Korea’s experience shows just how difficult it is to prevent the spread of these avian flu viruses.
Over the summer in APHIS Released Updates HPAI Epidemiology Report, we saw a post-mortem of the United State’s H5N8 outbreak, and while it was unable to find one or even a group of factors that satisfactorily explain our AI spread, factors under consideration included movement of poultry, poultry products, equipment and personnel between farms.
In addition to gearing up to be ready to deal with outbreaks this winter, the focus for the USDA over the summer has been in urging poultry producers to beef up their biosecurity. Some blogs on these preparations include:
While we await the expected return of HPAI this fall, this early season spike in H5N8 outbreaks in Korea serves as a reminder for poultry producers around the world to remain vigilant.