South Korea, Japan step up poultry cull to contain bird flu
The South Korean Agriculture Ministry said on Monday it had ordered the cull of an additional 2.4 million birds, taking the total number to a record 18.4 million since the first outbreak of avian flu was reported at a farm on Nov. 18.
It has called the outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of bird flu more severe than the H5N8 strain that spread across the country in 2014 and 2015 before being brought under control.
In Japan, authorities on the northern island of Hokkaido said at the weekend that about 210,000 chickens were being culled after bird flu was discovered at a poultry farm in the town of Shimizu. It is the fifth reported outbreak in the country since the end of November. Nearly 800,000 chickens have been culled since then.
Parts of Europe and Israel have also been hit by the H5N8 virus. About 30,000 turkeys and ducks were culled in Germany over the weekend while France has widened high-risk restrictions to the entire country after the detection of several cases of the H5N8 strain in farms. A case of H5N8 bird flu was also reported on a farm in Britain on Friday. -Reuters