South Korea confirms H5N8 bird flu in wild birds, issues warning

FILE PHOTO: Chickens for Korean traditional wedding ceremony are displayed for sale at a chicken store in Seoul April 17, 2008. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak (SOUTH KOREA)

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s agriculture ministry said on Tuesday it had confirmed the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of bird flu in samples from wild birds in the central west of the country and issued its bird flu warning.

The virus was discovered in samples collected from wild birds last week in Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do, about 84km (52.2 miles) central west of capital Seoul, the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it has ramped up prevention measures to contain a wider spread of bird flu and issued a highly pathogenic avian influenza warning as there are increased risks the virus will spread.

“This is a serious situation where the pollutant can flow from the migratory bird land to the farm though various routes,” Agriculture Ministry Kim Hyeon-soo said in a statement, urging the thorough implementation of quarantine measures at the farm, such as the daily disinfecting of the farmyard.

Following a separate bird flu outbreak on Tuesday in the Netherlands, Dutch health officials ordered a cull of chickens.

Reporting by Heekyong Yang