August 18, 2016 11:19
Korea has declared itself free of avian influenza as of Thursday.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said Wednesday the country now meets the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) requirements necessary for restoring avian flu-free status.
There have been no further outbreaks of bird flu since an epidemic in Icheon and Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province in March and April, and no virus has been detected in nationwide inspections of poultry farms and markets.
The OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code stipulates that a country is considered avian flu-free if there has been no further outbreak for three months after the last one and if no virus has been detected nationwide.
In a meeting last Friday, the ministry decided it was time to declare the country bird flu-free.
Korea also declared itself bird-flu free on Feb. 28, but less than a month later it broke out again at a duck farm in Icheon.
In the three months since the last batch of chickens was culled on April 7, authorities inspected 11,738 poultry farms and 395 other vulnerable locations like traditional markets but found no virus.
"It's still possible for the virus to infiltrate through neighboring countries, so we'll focus on preventing further outbreaks by watching the vulnerable areas," a ministry official said.
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