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SKorea-Bird Flu

All poultry in Seoul killed after bird flu outbreak

By HYUNG-JIN KIM

Associated Press Writer

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean officials said Monday they have killed all poultry in Seoul, the capital, to curb the spread of bird flu following a new outbreak of the disease in the city.

Quarantine officials destroyed 15,000 chickens, ducks, pheasants and turkeys raised in farms, restaurants, schools and homes in the capital, said Kim Yoon-kyu, a Seoul Metropolitan Government official.

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The Seoul government said the slaughter was necessary to contain the disease. It said it will now focus on preventing live poultry from being brought into the capital.

The slaughter began Sunday night, hours after authorities confirmed Seoul’s second outbreak of bird flu in less than a week.

The slaughter did not affect parrots, parakeets and canaries because they have little chance of spreading the disease, Kim said.

Government tests were under way to determine whether the outbreak was caused by the virulent H5N1 virus, said Kim Chang-seop, an official at the Agriculture Ministry. He said test results would be available as early as Monday night.

On Monday night, government tests confirmed the latest outbreak in Seoul was caused by the deadly H5N1 virus, said Yoon Young-ku, a spokesman at the Agriculture Ministry.

The tests also confirmed two additional outbreaks of the virus in Busan, brining to 31 the total number of outbreaks in South Korea, he said.

Bird flu began sweeping southern parts of the country last month for the first time in more than a year, forcing the slaughter of about 6.8 million birds.

The virus remains hard for people to catch, but scientists worry it could mutate into a form that spreads more easily between humans, with the potential to kill millions worldwide.

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Worldwide, at least 241 people have died from bird flu since 2003, according to the World Health Organization. Most human cases have been linked to contact with infected poultry.

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