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November 28, 2006

Has H5N1 returned to North Korea?

From Korean News, a website of North Korea's Korean Central News Agency: Anti-epidemic work against bird flu intensified in DPRK. Here's the story:

The government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has intensified the anti-epidemic work against bird flu at the turn of the season. This work is under way every year as a nationwide movement under the coordinated guidance of the State Emergency Preventive Committee.

U Song Rim, director of the Central Veterinary and Anti-epizootic Center under the Ministry of Agriculture, told KCNA that the anti-epidemic work against bird flu is brisk as the veterinary and anti-epizootic organizations are playing an increasing role.

He went on to say:

The poultry farms have conducted vaccination against H5N1 virus as part of the work for preventing bird flu.

The above-said institutions are keeping abreast with news of the spread of bird flu worldwide on a regular basis and taking relevant measures.

In the meantime, the veterinary and anti-epizootic organizations in the provinces, cities and counties have set up posts to observe migratory birds in order to closely follow where they stay at present and abnormal symptoms. Measures are being taken to ensure that not only the poultry farms but the rural farms raise their domestic animals strictly indoors during the migration of birds.

The border quarantine offices are conducting strict quarantine work to prevent the spread of bird flu to the country in close touch with the veterinary and anti-epizootic officials.

A research work is also making rapid progress to manufacture medicine to prevent bird flu.

Well, that's very reassuring. But here's the Seoul Times: Bird flu outbreak plagues Korea. And this story quotes the Korean Central News Agency as saying

... authorities culled over 100,000 fowl in Hadang farm in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital city.

So what's going on? The Seoul Times seems to be the only news source with this report, and I can't find anything in the North Korean media (admittedly very sparse) to confirm it. Is this a belated reference to an earlier North Korean outbreak?

The world media lit up today at the news that the South Koreans were culling dogs and cats as well as poultry. But a new poultry outbreak in North Korea seems to me a lot more significant.

Posted by dymaxion at November 28, 2006 10:08 PM

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