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Posted : 2014-06-18 18:31
Updated : 2014-06-18 18:52

New bird flu case in Daegu fuels concerns for nationwide spread

By Kim Se-jeong

A new case of avian influenza has been found in Daegu, triggering fears that the disease may be spreading across the country, officials said Wednesday.

According to Daegu Metropolitan Government (DMG), the H5N8 virus was found in three chickens that recently died at a poultry farm in Okcheon.

"The presence of the highly pathogenic virus has been confirmed," said an official from DMG. Since late last month, 100 chickens and 94 geese have died on the farm.

This case follows two separate cases reported in Hoengseong, Gangwon Province last Saturday and in Muan, South Jeolla Province earlier this week.

Bird flu cases were rampant earlier this year, but had not been reported until last week.

The virus is deadly, resulting in massive deaths of many bird species.

The H5N1 subtype of the virus can be transmitted to humans; but H5N8 has not been found to infect people.

Authorities in Daegu are stepping up efforts to contain the disease, setting up checkpoints to disinfect vehicles and prohibiting poultry from being transported within three kilometers from where the outbreak was reported.

All the surviving birds ― 13 geese and 388 chickens ― at the farm were culled.

The farm is known to have bought 107 baby geese from a farm in Hongseong on June 14.

This is the first outbreak since 2008 in the city.

Bird flu outbreaks have been common this year, affecting all parts of the country.

In February alone, more than 13.8 million birds were culled. Studies are underway to keep track of infection routes, as many believe migratory birds are to blame.

Many also questioned the possibility of human infection, as authorities found the virus was transmitted to dogs in the previous outbreak.

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