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Avian Influenza Outbreaks Expand in Korea, China, Hong Kong

According to South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, four new suspected cases of avian influenza (H5N8 strain) were reported this week. This brings the total number of confirmed and suspected cases in Korea to 56, with 27 cases confirmed since the Jan. 16 outbreak at a duck farm in North Jeolla Province. Yonhap News reported that more than 2 million birds have been slaughtered or are set to be slaughtered as a result of the recent outbreak.

China Daily reported this week that more cities in China are planning to shut down live poultry markets due to the rising number of people contracting avian influenza (H7N9 strain). At least 20 people in China have died from the virus in the past four weeks, according to Xinhua News Agency. Twelve deaths have occurred in Zhejiang province, which has ordered a permanent ban on live poultry trading in its larger cities’ main districts, effective July 1. The province also ordered a three-month suspension of live poultry trading in cities with confirmed cases of H7N9 infection, effective Feb 15.

On Jan. 28, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) also reported a new outbreak of avian influenza (H7N9 strain) in Hong Kong.