H5N8 Spread – Credit OIE 2/28/14
The ongoing spread of H5N8 in South Korea continues, with news today that ducks at the National Institute of Animal Science research facility in Cheonan, South Chungcheong have been infected. Korea - now more than 6 weeks into their battle against this first-ever HPAI H5N8 outbreak – has culled millions of birds in an attempt to control this outbreak.
Previously we’ve only seen low pathogenic outbreaks of H5N8 (see CIDRAP 2008 Low-pathogenic avian flu hits Idaho game farm), although at least one detection of H5N8 in an HPAI form was recorded in China in 2009-10 (see Characterization of three H5N5 and one H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in China).
Despite intensive containment measures, disinfection and culling of farms, and the halting of poultry product transport, the virus has continued to spread across much of the South Korean Peninsula. Today’s report is not only another setback in efforts to control the virus, it has serious ramifications for the ongoing research at the NIAS facility as well.
This report from the Koran Joongang Daily.
Cheonan facility culls 16,000 chickens, ducks to stop spread of virusMar 04,2014
The avian influenza (AI) virus was found in the carcasses of ducks in a National Institute of Animal Science facility in Cheonan, South Chungcheong, on Sunday, signaling that the virus is still spreading throughout the country.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said yesterday that it detected the H5N8 strain of the virus in the ducks.
The results of an examination to determine whether the virus is highly pathologic is expected to be released today.
The ministry decided to cull all the 16,000 chickens and ducks bred at the institute’s farm to prevent the disease from spreading.
The state-run institute protects and preserves gene resources of chickens and ducks, and has dispersed them into several facilities throughout Korea to minimize damage from threats such as the bird flu.
It is the first outbreak of bird influenza in the NIAS, but the facility has been in the danger zone, within a three-kilometer (1.8-mile) radius of a duck farm infected by the highly pathogenic AI in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, on Feb. 24.
For earlier reports on Korea’s H5N8 outbreak, you may wish to revisit: