Archive for the ‘Avain Flu’ Category

Bird flu: FAO sends experts to North Korea

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

UNFAO
3/30/2005

FAO has sent a veterinary expert to Pyongyang/North Korea to obtain further information on the extent of the current avian influenza outbreak in the country and to offer assistance to control the bird flu virus.

Two additional FAO avian influenza experts from China and Australia will arrive in Pyongjang within the next days.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has informed FAO about bird flu outbreaks on two or three farms. In response, FAO has sent diagnostic kits for avian influenza to support national control efforts.

Poultry production is one of the few growing sectors in the country. The number of poultry is estimated at some 25.5 million in 2004, about two times higher than in 1997.

In the wake of serious food shortages, the supply of animal protein has been very limited in North Korea. The recovering poultry sector could contribute to improve the nutrition of the country’s population of around 22.5 million people by adding a valuable source of animal protein to their diets.

North Korea is one of the poorest countries in the world, with around 8 million chronically undernourished in 2000-2002.

The spread of the disease into North Korea underlines the need for close regional cooperation, FAO said. North Korea is already benefiting from a regional FAO project on avian influenza, shared with China, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea. The project assists in improving and upgrading veterinary laboratories as well as creating a network for the sharing of epidemiological information, and provision of equipment to control and prevent avian flu.

A national workshop on bird flu will be held soon in North Korea to improve awareness of the disease, and provide information on control methods, laboratory diagnosis and good farming practices. The workshop will be jointly organised by the government and FAO.

It is essential to fight the bird flu virus in poultry, free-range chickens and ducks, in order to reduce the risk of a human flu pandemic, the UN agency said.

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Bird flu outbreak in North Korea

Sunday, March 27th, 2005

BBC
3/27/2005

North Korea says it has had a first outbreak of the deadly bird flu virus.

The state Korean Central News Agency said no people had been infected but hundreds of thousands of chickens had been culled and the carcasses burned.

The agency only said that the outbreak was “recent” and occurred at “two or three” chicken farms. It did not specify the virus type.

The H5N1 virus has killed almost 50 people since its resurgence in South East Asia in December 2003.

Tight controls

KCNA said Hadang farm in Pyongyang, among the city’s largest, was one of the sites of the outbreak.

North Korea had previously said it was free of the virus that has struck many countries in south and east Asia.

South Korean news agency Yonhap earlier this month reported an outbreak at Hadang, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to ask the reclusive North for information.

The North has relied on food aid for more than a decade but imposes tight controls on foreign visitors and aid workers.

Experts fear the H5N1 virus could eventually combine with human flu and threaten a deadly pandemic.

There are suspected cases of the virus being passed between humans.

Seoul offers N Korea bird flu aid
BBC

3/28/2005

South Korea has said it is ready to help the North combat bird flu, after the isolated state publicly admitted on Sunday that it was fighting the virus.

Pyongyang has not asked Seoul for assistance, but a South Korean official said the official announcement appeared to indicate the North would accept aid.

The North says no people have been infected but hundreds of thousands of chickens have been culled.

Analysts warn that the virus could wipe out its fledgling chicken industry.

“North Korea, plagued by food shortages, has struggled to modernise and build facilities for the breeding and processing of chicken, a main source of animal protein,” Kwon Tae-jin, an expert on North Korean agriculture based in Seoul, told the South Korean Munhwa Ilbo newspaper.

The North has not specified the type of bird flu virus it is battling. The H5N1 virus has killed almost 50 people since its resurgence in South East Asia in December 2003.

The state Korean Central News Agency only said that the outbreak was “recent” and occurred at “two or three” chicken farms.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which has an office in Pyongyang, said it had been contacted by the North, and would co-ordinate counter-measures.

South Korea was to hold several meetings on Monday to decide on a strategy to help the North.

It has already put in place measures to prevent the spread of bird flu into the South, as rumours first surfaced of an outbreak in the North earlier this month.

South Korea has itself suffered several outbreaks of bird flu, but no human infections.

Experts fear the H5N1 virus could eventually combine with human flu and threaten a deadly pandemic.

There are suspected cases of the virus being passed between humans. So far, Vietnam has been the country hardest hit by this year’s outbreak of bird flu.

UN bird flu expert visits N Korea
BBC
3/30/2005

A senior United Nations bird flu expert has gone to North Korea to try to prevent the spread of the virus.

North Korea confirmed on Saturday that bird flu had been detected in several farms near the capital, Pyongyang.

State media said hundreds of thousands of chickens had been destroyed to prevent the virus from spreading, and no humans had been affected.

The UN has also sent diagnostic kits to help the North Koreans determine if the birds died from the deadly H5N1 strain.

This strain of bird flu has killed almost 50 people since its resurgence in South East Asia in December 2003.

Hans Wagner, a senior official from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, flew to Pyongyang on Tuesday, and will be joined by two other experts from China and Australia in the coming days.

Survivor’s story

“They will look at the strategies being set up by the government and also bring some supplies,” FAO spokesman Diderik de Vleeschauwer told Reuters news agency.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday that the North Korean authorities were struggling to control the outbreak, and the disease was spreading quickly.

Analysts warn that the virus could wipe out the poverty-stricken country’s chicken industry.

Before the bird flu outbreak, poultry production was one of the few growing sectors in North Korea. The number of poultry was estimated at 25.5m in 2004, about two times higher than in 1997.

N Korean bird flu ‘different’
BBC
4/5/2005

A strain of bird flu infecting poultry in North Korea is different from that which killed scores of people in other parts of Asia, a UN expert has said.

Hans Wagner, an official for the Food and Agriculture Organization, said the birds were infected with the H7 strain.

The strain that has decimated poultry stocks and caused recent human deaths in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam is the more virulent H5N1 strain.

North Korea has culled 219,000 birds to tackle the outbreak, Mr Wagner said.

“We have a new situation, because H7 has so far not occurred in Asia,” he told reporters.

“We don’t know where the virus came from,” he said, adding that UN experts would now try to trace the source of the infection, to prevent future outbreaks.

H7 can cause illness in humans, but outbreaks of the strain have not been as severe as those caused by H5N1.

H5N1 has killed almost 50 people since its resurgence in South East Asia in December 2003.

When North Korea first announced that three of its farms had been infected with bird flu last month, analysts warned that the virus could wipe out the poverty-stricken country’s chicken industry.

Poultry production is one of the few growing sectors in North Korea, which has relied on foreign aid to feed its people since the mid-1990s.

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An affiliate of 38 North