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South Korea culls pigs to stop AI

South Korea has culled another 4,000 pigs and 2,000 poultry to prevent the spread of avian influenza (AI) after four cases were confirmed in the country's South West.

Quarantine authorities decided to slaughter the pigs in South Chungchong province as a precaution after they were discovered on a farm within a 500-metre radius of the site of the latest outbreak.


New outbreak


Last week, the agriculture ministry confirmed a fourth case of AI , at a duck farm at Asan, 90 kilometres South of Seoul.


"We included the pigs in the list to make sure that we should completely stop the spread of the AI virus," said Kim Chang-Seop, director of animal health at the agriculture ministry.


Altogether now 4,177 pigs have been killed due to AI in the Asan area, the ministry said.


AI has been reported in South Korea since mid-2003. The disease, caused by the H5N1 virus and spread through contact with sick animals, has killed more than 150 people worldwide.


Mixing bowl


Scientists fear pigs could act as a 'mixing bowl' in which a human pandemic strain could evolve, because the animals can harbour both human and avian flu viruses.


Related websites:
• South Korean Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry


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