The farm ministry said a duck farm in Anseong, 77 kilometers south of Seoul, tested positive for the virulent strain of the H5N1 avian influenza after birds started dying off over the weekend. Concerns are now being raised that the highly contagious disease is spreading across the country despite quarantine efforts.
"All 32,000 ducks on the (Anseong) farmhave already been ordered destroyed on Sunday as a precautionary measure, with 55,000 other birds within a 500-meter radius to be culled," an official said.
He said other birds within a 10-kilometer area of the poultry farm will be barred from being sold on the market or moved, while front-line inspectors will carefully monitor birds for sharp hikes in sudden deaths and drops in egg production.
The Anseong outbreak is the ninth confirmed in the country this winter after the first bird flu cases were confirmed by quarantine authorities on Dec. 31. Latest figures from the ministry confirm that 194,600 birds have been culled at infected farms, with many more being destroyed to prevent the spread of the bird flu.