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(LEAD) Suspected bird flu case confirmed to be highly pathogenic

2017/11/19 22:34

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(ATTN: UPDATES with more info, background from 3rd para)

SEJONG, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government said Sunday that a suspected bird flu case was confirmed to be highly pathogenic and then imposed a travel ban to prevent the further spread of the animal virus.

The avian influenza, discovered on a poultry farm with 12,000 ducks in Gochang, some 300 kilometers southwest of Seoul, tested positive as a highly pathogenic strain of H5N6, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The ministry said it imposed a nationwide movement ban on poultry, vehicles and farm workers starting Monday for 48 hours to contain further outbreaks, while the measures will be effective for seven days in Gochang and nearby areas.

The government raised its avian influenza alert status to the highest level to combat the disease from the beginning.

"I ask all government ministries and provincial governments to closely cooperate in implementing appropriate quarantine measures," Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said in an emergency order.

It is the first time in five months that South Korea reported a confirmed bird flu case on July 13. The country suffered the worst avian flu outbreak last year which lasted nearly eight months, with millions of chickens and ducks culled.