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South Korea on alert after discovery of venomous fire ants

Staff Writer |
South Korean authorities are on high alert after the discovery of venomous fire ants in the southern port of Busan last week.

Agricultural, environmental and maritime officials held an urgent meeting on Monday to discuss measures to prevent the highly invasive alien red ant species with a sting that could cause severe allergic reactions including breathing problems which sometimes lead to death, according to the the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency.

Some 25 fire ants were found in a storage container in the port last Thursday and a nest capable of accommodating 1,000 was found in the same place the following day.

It is the first time that the venomous insects have been discovered in South Korea.

During the emergency meeting, the government decided to take swift measures to identify their origin and beef up extermination and quarantine efforts to prevent further spread, the agency said.

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