updated 11/25/2006 11:21:54 AM ET 2006-11-25T16:21:54

South Korea said on Saturday a bird flu outbreak at a poultry farm was caused by the highly virulent H5N1 strain of the virus, in the country's first case for three years of the infection that can kill humans.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

The Agriculture Ministry said earlier this week it suspected bird flu had killed 6,000 chickens at a farm in the southwest of the country that lies on a path for migratory birds.

"It is the H5N1 strain," a ministry official said by telephone on Saturday, after test results.

The ministry ordered the culling of 236,000 poultry within a 1,640-foot radius of the farm in North Cholla province about 100 miles from Seoul, a ministry statement said.

Quarantine authorities also banned the shipment of more than 5 million poultry from 221 farms within a 6.2-mile radius of the farm.

No people appear infected
There were no reports to suggest local residents or quarantine officials had been infected, another Agriculture Ministry official said by telephone.

Between December 2003 and March 2004, about 400,000 poultry at South Korean farms were infected by bird flu.

During that outbreak, the country culled 5.3 million birds and spent about $1.6 billion on preventing the disease spreading, officials said.

Subsequent testing in the United States indicated at least nine South Korean workers involved in the cull had been infected with the H5N1 virus, but none developed major illnesses.

Since 2003, outbreaks have been confirmed in around 50 countries and territories, according to the World Organization for Animal Health.

North Korea had an outbreak at poultry farms near the capital Pyongyang in February 2005, which led it to cull more than 200,000 chickens and vaccinate 1.1 million poultry.

The World Health Organization said that by Nov. 13, there had been 258 cases of human infection of the H5N1 strain since 2003, killing 153 people. Many of the victims were Asians, with 98 deaths in Vietnam and Indonesia, WHO said.

(c) Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments