S. Korea investigating new suspected case of highly pathogenic bird flu

SEOUL: South Korea’s agricultural ministry said Monday it has identified a new suspected case of highly pathogenic bird flu, amid the growing concerns over the disease further straining the local poultry industry, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The new suspected case was reported from a duck farm in Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The country has so far reported 29 farm-related avian influenza cases since late November, including an infection from a guest ranch.

South Jeolla Province accounted for eight cases and Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds the capital city, took up seven.

The latest case was confirmed from a duck farm in Gurye, 422 kilometres south of Seoul, on Sunday.

To prevent the further spread of the disease, South Korea has been speeding up the process to destroy birds from infected farms and their surrounding areas.

As of Monday, local authorities have culled around 9.6 million birds. All poultry within a 3-kilometre radius of infected farms are culled.

Meanwhile, 42 cases in wild birds have been confirmed since late October.

Authorities are investigating seven more suspected cases from wild bird habitats as well.

The domestic price of eggs and poultry, meanwhile, has been remaining stable despite the outbreak of the bird flu.

According to the data compiled by the ministry, the country’s average price of eggs increased 1.3 per cent over the first three-week period of December from a year earlier. The price of duck meat advanced 10.3 per cent.

The price of chicken, on the other hand, shed 1.3 per cent over the period due to oversupply, the ministry said. – Bernama