Gyeonggi authorities will begin offering free vaccines against avian influenza to poultry farmers
today as Korea’s first outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain is spreading fast and far.
Local health authorities confirmed Korea’s first outbreak of the H5N6 avian influenza virus in rural
areas last week. That strain of the virus was discovered on Oct. 28 in the feces of migratory birds
in Cheonan, South Chungcheong. The flu spread quickly to reach Yangju, Gyeonggi, only 35
kilometers (21.7 miles) from the capital. Authorities confirmed on Tuesday that 240 out of 133,392
chickens that died on a farm in Yangju were infected with H5N6 avian influenza. Despite a
nationwide freeze on movements of poultry farmers and their vehicles within a 10-kilometer radius of
sites where the virus has tested positive, the influenza continues to spread. A farm in Icheon,
Gyeonggi, reported to authorities Sunday that some 400 of its chickens died. Preliminary tests revealed that the
chickens were infected with H5N6 avian influenza. More farms in Yangju and Sejong reported the abrupt deaths of
hundreds of their chickens.
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