South Korean official revealed plans to cull “273,000 poultry within a 500 meter radius” while Egypt reported the 11th death and Indonesia culled thousands of chicken after the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu was found.
Agriculture Ministry officials say that the fifth outbreak occurred sixty miles south of Seoul and promised to disclose their decision on the slaughter of an additional 386,000 poultry and limiting the movement of 2.16 million chicken and ducks from 90 farms in a six-mile radius from the place of outbreak. In the previous outbreak in 2003, Seoul ordered the culling of 5.3 million birds. In this recent outbreak, farm laborers exposed to the epidemic showed no symptoms as they had developed natural immunity.
In Egypt, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that recent deaths from bird flu are due to resistance of the strain to medication. However, 8 of the 19 reported cases so far have been successfully treated with the frontline drug Tamiflu but Health Ministry officials say that the 11 deaths is because of “advanced stage of the disease” in these people. The WHO statement says that they have noticed “a genetic mutation” in their “laboratory testing” which seemed to have “moderately reduced susceptibility to oseltamivir (Tamiflu).” The Health Ministry has also launched a USD 10 million awareness campaign on television, radio and in newspapers and holding meetings in rural areas to educate the population about the risks of bird flu. Additionally, it had asked for another USD 150 million to prepare for a possible pandemic should the virus mutate into a form even more contagious to humans.
With a total of 80 infections with the H5N1 strain and 62 dead, Indonesia is moving rapidly to slaughter thousands of chicken, duck, and pigeons found in backyards. The government said that all backyard poultry will be killed with a USD 1.5 compensation for each bird before February 1 and none after thereby motivating for a quick control of the infestation. Officials went on a house to house search to identify backyard poultry as small farmers were reluctant to hand over their sick and infected poultry.
With the renewed cases of bird flu, it is not clear what preparations that India has instituted. Last winter, the country reported infestations but a shoddy culling job, suppressed reports, and public relations “feel good” campaigns stopped all reporting on the subject. Last year, the government promised to establish more centers for testing bird flu, distribution of medication, and bettering reporting mechanisms. It is not clear which of these goals have been accomplished