The outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry have been going on just over a month in South Korean, and despite massive culling and attempts at quarantining farms, the virus has now spread to six of nine provinces.
While Korean officials have been battling this disease since April 1st, they now are faced with an increasingly skeptical press which has openly questioned the truthfulness of their status reports. One television station reported that the government had withheld positive test results from the province of North Gyeongsang last month.
Government spokesmen denied the allegation, saying they had been `cautious' about the results of preliminary tests from Yeongcheon City, but additional tests confirmed the outbreak.
While more than 40 suspicious outbreaks have been reported, some have been ruled to be from causes other than bird flu, and others have yet to be confirmed. With new reports of bird deaths still coming in, the `official count' of confirmed H5N1 outbreaks reported in this article is likely to increase.
Six weeks ago South Korea's record for detecting and eradicating the bird flu virus was among the best in Asia, with only 7 reported outbreaks in the previous two years.
Korea's experience in April, much like India's in January, show just how quickly the situation can change.
First Posted 14:48:00 05/03/2008
SEOUL -- Bird flu outbreaks have spread to six of South Korea's nine provinces despite a massive cull which saw the slaughter of more than five million chickens and ducks last month, officials said Saturday.
An outbreak reported Wednesday at a farm around 300 kilometers (187 miles) southeast of Seoul was confirmed after blood tests as the virulent H5N1 strain of the disease, the agriculture ministry said.
It raised to 23 the total number of outbreaks reported across six provinces of South Korea.
Only the northeastern province of Gangweon, North Chungcheong in the centre and the southern island of Jeju have been unaffected so far, according to the ministry.