After experiencing an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu that started a month ago, South Korea’s agriculture ministry has now raised the bird flu alert status in the country to the highest level for the first time as the disease spread quickly nationwide.
Since the outbreaks that started last month, Asia’s fourth largest economy has culled over 12% of its poultry population to contain the spread of the virus.
According to a statement recently released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, it will come up with detailed measures to combat the disease under the higher alert status after consulting with related ministries.
To tackle the spread of the H5N6 virus, the ministry has already ramped up quarantine measures including issuing a temporary nationwide movement ban as an increasing number of farms have reported outbreaks.
There have been 53 cases of the virus confirmed since mid-November, with another 21 cases being tested, according to the ministry statement.
Outbreaks of avian influenza have been reported in Japan and several European countries including France, which raised its bird flu risk level to high last week.
No cases of human infections have been detected in South Korea, although human infections from the H5N6 virus have been previously reported elsewhere including China, where it killed 10 people.