|Credit Japan's MAFF|
During the first three months after H5N8 first appeared on the Korea Peninsula (mid-January to mid-April), South Korea culled and buried in excess of 14 million birds.
We are now just barely over 3 weeks into Korea's battled with H5N6, and already 9 million birds have been destroyed, across 177 farms.
While the MAFRA updates are often cryptic and difficult to maintain a running tally, we've an English language report from KBS World Radio News updating the situation.
Bird flu: 9 million slaughtered poultry
Published: 2016-12-09 4:30:04 p.m. Updated: 2016-12-09 4:47:54 p.m.
While all eyes are on the National Assembly, the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs convened a meeting this morning to deal with the bird flu continues to spread in the country.
According to the Ministry, four new suspected cases reported between Sunday and Tuesday in the provinces of Chungcheong North and South, located in the center of the country, and that of North Jeolla, in the southwest, tested positive.
This brings the number of farms affected to 177 and that of poultry slaughtered 9 million since the declaration of the first suspected case of 16 November. In addition, 22 dead migratory bird affected by the virus have been discovered in the province of South Gyeongnam. Thus, damage caused by bird flu could set a new record, exceeding the 14 million chickens buried in 100 days during 2014.
Health authorities have decided to extend the prohibition period to move the poultry droppings until 23 December. They will also complement the manual for the abatement and treatment of the affected bodies.
Given their previous experiences with H5N8, and their strict biosecurity measures, it is a bit surprising that H5N6 has spread as much, and as far, as it has in South Korea.
As we've seen in Europe with H5N8, these clade 18.104.22.168 H5 viruses appear to be gaining both in their ability to spread via migratory birds, and their virulence in wild birds and farmed poultry.
All of which should have poultry producers on alert - including those in North America - as these viruses continues their global spread.