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Published On: Wed, Jan 22nd, 2014

South Korea: H5N8 bird flu spreads to four farms

The outbreak of H5N8 avian influenza (AI) has spread to at least four farms in South Korea and officials fear the migration of birds may increase it’s spread, according to a Korea Joongang Daily report Wednesday.

Authorities confirmed that the number of poultry farms in Buan and Gochang that have ducks infected with the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian influenza has risen to four, Arirang News reports.

Officials suspect a duck farm in the southern city of Jeongeup in Jeollabuk-do Province has been infected with Avian Influenza.

If their suspicions prove true, it would be the first case of AI outside of Gochang and Buan counties, the source of the recent AI outbreaks, and would mean that the risk of birds carrying the virus to other places has increased. With that in mind, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced Tuesday that all ducks within a three-kilometer radius of the infected farms will be culled, the report states.

Since the first H5N8 outbreak last Thursday, the authorities have worked frantically to contain the spread of the virus and instituted an unprecedented 48-hour ban on the movement of poultry farmers and their vehicles over the weekend in the Jeolla region.

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

Officials are looking at a type of duck called the Baikal Teal, which fly in from Russia to Korea for the winter as a source of spread of the virus.

After settling near the Geum River in South Chungcheong, the Dongnim Reservoir in North Jeolla and other southern parts of the country, they migrate back to Russia in the spring.

If the disease spreads along the birds’ migratory route, it could mean efforts by the government to contain AI over the past few days may have been in vain.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the H5N8 virus has no history of infecting humans.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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