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2008/04/23 10:44 KST
S. Korea reports new suspected bird flu outbreak

   SEOUL, April 23 (Yonhap) -- A suspected case of bird flu has been reported in the central part of South Korea and authorities are trying to prevent the possible outbreak from spreading, the government said Wednesday.

   The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said a duck farm in Nonsan, 213 kilometers south of Seoul, was put under quarantine on Tuesday after birds started dying and there was a noticeable drop in egg production.

   It is the first time that bird flu has been reported this year in South Chungcheong Province.

   Most outbreaks reported this year have been centered in the southwestern Jeolla region in places like Gimje, Jeongeup and Yeongam. There was an isolated case of bird flu confirmed in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, 70 kilometers south of the capital.

   The ministry, meanwhile, said the suspected outbreak in Nonsan brings the total number of bird flu cases reported this year to 50. Of the total, 26 have been confirmed as avian influenza, while eight have come up negative and attributed to other causes. The remaining 16 are being examined.

   It added that authorities have culled and buried 5.33 million birds since the first outbreak was reported in early April.

   South Korea killed 5.6 million birds due to bird flu in the winter of 2003-2004, and destroyed 2.8 million more in 2006-2007 to prevent the spread of the disease.

   yonngong@yna.co.kr
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