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Highly pathogenic bird flu found in South Korea

Staff Writer |
At least two strains of highly pathogenic bird flu were found in South Korea this winter, the country's quarantine agency said Wednesday.

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The Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (APQA) announced the result of its DNA analysis of viruses discovered at duck farms in Gochang and Yeongam in the country's southwestern region.

The viruses, which were detected in Gochang on Nov. 19 and in Yeongam on Dec. 10, were highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) of H5N6 strain, which is a genetic reassortment of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain originating from Europe and the low-pathogenic N6 virus.

The bird flu viruses were estimated to have entered South Korea through migratory birds, according to the APQA.

The virus found in Gochang was identical to the one discovered in the country's southern resort island of Jeju from Nov. 27 to Dec. 2, but the one detected in Yeongam had a slightly different sequence.

About 76,000 ducks were culled earlier this month at five duck farms within a 3-km radius of the affected site. In 2016, over 30 million ducks and chickens were slaughtered to contain one of the country's worst bird flu outbreaks.

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