H5N6 Bird Flu Strain Spreads to Be S. Korea’s Worst AI Outbreak open the window of AOD

Write : 2016-12-18

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The recent outbreak of a deadly bird flu strain has grown to become the worst poultry epidemic in South Korea’s history.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the number of poultry culled since the outbreak of the H5N6 strain has surpassed the record posted during the country’s previously worst avian influenza(AI) outbreak in 2014.

As of Thursday, the total number of culled chickens, ducks and quails, which were infected or suspected to be infected with H5N6 past the previous record, 13-point-96 million, culled in response to the spread of another highly pathogenic bird flu strain, the H5N8, in 2014.

The culling in 2014 was conducted over a span of 195 days. The culling due to the current outbreak has been going for about a month. The first H5N6 case was reported on November 16th.

The latest AI outbreak is taking a toll on hens in particular. Over eight million nhens have been culled so far during the H5N6 outbreak. It accounts for almost 12 percent of all of the hens bred at farms across the country.

Experts are criticizing the government for not appropriately coping with the AI epidemic due to an administrative vacuum left by the parliamentary passage of the impeachment motion against President Park Geun-hye.

The latest AI spread continues with six provinces and Sejong City already affected, raising the concern that more birds will be lost.

Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn decided at a meeting on Monday to expand the response team. It had been led by just the Agriculture Ministry, but now the Public Safety, Interior and Environment ministries as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been added to the team.

Officials also issued a two-day nationwide "standstill" order on poultry farms through Wednesday to contain the spread of AI.

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