Flu Virus Found in Wild Birds as Korea Quarantines Farms

South Korea discovered the H5N8 avian influenza virus in dead migratory birds after confirming an outbreak at two duck farms in the country’s south.

About 100 dead birds found in a reservoir in North Jeolla province tested positive for H5N8, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, said in a statement today.

Authorities culled 90,000 animals at the farms and four other poultry producers in the vicinity in Gochang and Buan counties, the ministry said yesterday. The government also restricted the movement of people working with poultry in North Jeolla and South Jeolla provinces and Gwangju City for 48 hours through midnight tonight, the agriculture minister, Lee Dong Phil, told reporters yesterday.

“It was inevitable to announce a stand-still in order to prevent further damage,” Lee said. “We ask all to comply thoroughly with the stand-still instructions.”

South Korea, the world’s third-biggest buyer of corn, used in food, animal feed and biofuel, destroyed 6.5 million chickens and ducks in the previous outbreak spanning December 2010 through May 2011, government data show.

Shares of Harim Holdings Co., which manufactures packaged chicken through its subsidiaries, fell for a third day, dropping as much as 5.3 percent to 4,260 won, the lowest intraday price since Jan. 10. It traded at 4,460 won at 12:50 p.m. in Seoul while the benchmark Kospi stock index gained 0.2 percent.

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