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Bird flu spreads near Seoul in S. Korea

TOKYO, Jan 30 (KUNA) -- A bird flu case has been confirmed at a chicken farm in South Korea's central Gyeonggi Province surrounding Seoul, Yonhap News Agency reported Thursday.
The South Korean Agriculture Ministry said that tests showed a chicken breeding farm in the province came up positive for the H5 strain of avian influenza that is sweeping parts of the country, according to the report. The Gyeonggi region that surrounds the capital city of Seoul is home to the largest number of chicken farms in the country.
"At present we are trying to determine if the latest case is a virulent avian influenza strain," a ministry source was quoted as saying. He said that all poultry within a three-kilometer radius of the affected farm have been culled as a preventative measure. Past cases have been restricted in the country's southwestern region. This is the first time that a bird flu case has been detected so far north.
The ministry said the farm affected by the outbreak is located some 15 kilometers southwest of a lake, a key stopping area for migratory birds. The government suspects migratory birds have spread the latest outbreak. More than 1.5 million birds have been culled since the first outbreak of the H5N8 bird flu was reported Jan. 16 at a duck farm in Gochang City, 300 kilometers southwest of Seoul, Yonhap reported on Tuesday.
Ministry officials said the H5N8, unlike other strains of bird flu, posed little immediate threat to humans, noting no human infection of the strain has been reported. (end) mk.mt KUNA 301624 Jan 14NNNN