North Korea confirms bird flu outbreak at two chicken farms

NORTH KOREA yesterday confirmed a bird flu outbreak at two chicken farms in the capital Pyongyang and said the farms slaughtered and buried hundreds of thousands of chickens infected by the disease.

But no one is reported to have been infected among breeders on the farms, the North’s official KCNA news agency said.

“Bird flu has recently broken out at a few chicken farms including the Hadang chicken farm,” it said.

“Hundreds of thousands of infected chickens have been burned before their burial at the relevant chicken farms.”

The committee has been working to prevent the spread of the disease to other poultry farms, and officials of the agricultural and public health ministries have been mobilising a campaign to prevent its spread, it added.

The report comes more than a week after South Korean media said bird flu had broken out in the North Korean capital last month.

But it remained unclear if the strain of virus involved was H5N1, which has been known to jump from birds to humans.

That virus has killed 34 Vietnamese, 12 Thais and one Cambodian since it swept across large parts of Asia in late 2003.

A 17-year-old woman became Vietnam’s 35th bird flu victim on Friday, although tests on a third Cambodian suspected of contracting the virus, which has now killed 49 people since 2003, proved negative.

The teenager, who died on March 23, according to hospital emergency unit head Nguyen Hong Ha, was from Nam Dinh province, 90 km south of Hanoi.

A 40-year-old Vietnamese woman from Quang Ninh, along the Chinese border, was also confirmed as having the highly lethal H5N1 virus.

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