Bird Flu Outbreak in North Korea Contained


WASHINGTON and ROME -- The recent outbreak of avian influenza in North Korea has been successfully contained, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, which is urging the country to continue surveillance on the affected farms and elsewhere to ensure that no residual infection remains.


An H7 strain of the bird flu virus had been detected recently on three poultry farms near the capital Pyongyang. Although this virus caused severe disease in chickens it is not directly related to the H5N1 avian influenza virus circulating in other parts of Asia.


"The virus appears to have been eliminated from the three infected farms

by combining culling of around 218 000 infected chickens, vaccination of

unaffected birds in unaffected poultry houses and strict biosecurity

measures," said FAO consultant Les Sims, who traveled to Pyongyang to advise

the North Korean veterinary authorities on bird flu control.


North Korea has acted promptly and appropriately and has provided

essential information in a timely manner, Sims said, and the official

declaration to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) was done in due

time. FAO sent three experts to the country to assist national authorities in

diagnosis and disease management. This was done through the East Asian

Regional Network on Avian Influenza set up by FAO.


The FAO urged North Korea to continue bird flu surveillance throughout the



"Reagents and laboratory tools provided by FAO will assist in continuing

the battle against the virus, but additional strengthening of veterinary

diagnostic and surveillance capacity is seen as a priority to ensure that this

work is completed," said Joseph Domenech, FAO's Chief Veterinary Officer.


Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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