Another outbreak of bird flu in Seoul - all poultry in the city culled

A second outbreak of bird flu in Seoul, the capital of South Korea in less than a week has prompted the culling of all domestic fowl in the city.

The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries says a virulent strain of bird flu was confirmed in Songpa, southeastern Seoul and a suspected case was reported earlier in the day in Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang Province.

The outbreak on a duck farm in Songpa is the second confirmed report of the H5N1 bird flu in the capital city following a case in the Gwangjin area last week.

The country has had a total of 67 bird flu reports since April 1st, with 40 having been confirmed as being caused by the virulent strain and 25 due to other diseases.

Since the beginning of April more than 7 million chickens and ducks have been slaughtered but even these stringent measures have not halted the spread of the deadly virus throughout South Korea faster than ever since the country's first outbreak in 2003.

Officials say Seoul has slaughtered all the 15,000 chickens and ducks raised in the city as a pre-emptive measure following the outbreak at Songpa district which was confirmed on Monday and all birds raised on school premises have also been culled as a precautionary measure.

It was just last week that four birds raised in pens at a Seoul district government office in the eastern part of the city were found dead and tested positive for the avian flu virus and limited access to livestock markets and strict quarantine restrictions were then imposed.

The country's first avian influenza outbreak between late 2003 and early 2004 meant the slaughter of 5.3 million birds and a second outbreak in 2006-2007 saw 2.8 million culled.

South Korea wants to increase it's stockpile of vaccines such as Tamiflu and Relenza to sufficient levels to treat 2.5 million people, or 5 percent of the country's population.

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