SEOUL – Some 197,000 chickens at a farm close to the South Korean capital city were culled after a new case of avian influenza was discovered, the South Korean government said on Wednesday after imposing a 48-hour ban on transporting poultry products in the north of the country.
The farm in question is located in Pocheon, 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of Seoul, and had recorded the deaths of 30 birds since Tuesday, with preliminary tests showing that they were infected with bird flu, the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said.
In order to prevent the virus from spreading, the government has decided to cull the birds and inspect farms located within a 3-kilometer radius of the affected site.
Inquiries were ongoing to determine whether the case involves the same highly pathogenic strain currently affecting the southwest of the country.
The latest case, the first of its kind in the northern province of Gyeonggi, has caused alarm among quarantine officials, who have been fighting to contain the expansion of the H5N6 strain in the southwest of the country since November.
In the province of Jeolla, one of the worst affected, the government confirmed on Wednesday that nine farms had been infected by the virulent strain.
Some 36,700 birds have been culled in three provinces, and disinfection processes were being carried out in farms in the whole region.
After an H5N6 infection was discovered in the area in December, authorities culled 201,000 ducks.
The World Health Organization classifies viruses that cause severe disease in poultry and result in high death rates as highly pathogenic avian influenza.
In 2016, South Korea culled more than 30 million birds to contain the worst outbreak of bird flu in the country’s history.