Archive for the ‘Avain Flu’ Category

Bird flu in the heart of Pyognyang

Monday, May 20th, 2013


Pictured above (Google Earth): Tudan Duck Farm

UPDATE 1 (2013-6-11): According to Yonhap (via Global Post):

North Korea has reported to the international agency on animal health that the country has seen no new bird flu cases since early last month, agency officials said Tuesday.

Ri Kyong-gun, the North’s agricultural department chief, said, in a report sent to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), “There are no new outbreaks” as of May 22, some 10 days after a duck farm near Pyongyang reported animals showing symptoms of avian influenza, known as the H5N1 virus.

While the source of the outbreak and its origin are not yet known, the communist country “humanely culled all ducks in the infected cages and has vaccinated 500,000 heads nationwide,” the official said in the report.

According to the comments there, weekly follow-up reports will be submitted, “as the event is continuing.” The May 22 report is the latest one available on the OIE website.

The international agency earlier said the highly contagious virus was presumed to be spread by migrating birds from China, where its Tibet Autonomous Region saw 35 chickens die at a farm after showing symptoms of avian flu.

In a move to conduct an on-spot inspection into the recent cases and to help North Korea with quarantine activities, three experts from the OIE and the Food and Agriculture Organization made a one-week trip to the communist country from June 3, the Washington-based Voice of America said.

An outbreak of the avian flu led to a mass cull of 210,000 chickens in North Korea back in 2005.

ORIGINAL POST: According to KCNA (2013-5-20):

DPRK Strives to Prevent Spread of Bird Flu Virus

Pyongyang, May 20 (KCNA) — The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been making big efforts to prevent the spread of the bird flu virus.

According to an examination made by the Central Epizootic Prevention Center and the Veterinary Institute under the Academy of Agricultural Science on May 7, it was found that ducks in the Tudan Duck Farm in Pyongyang were infected with the H5N1 virus by migratory birds. They briefed UN bodies concerned on this situation while taking steps to kill as many as 160 000 ducks in the farm and quarantine and disinfect it.

More than 1 360 veterinary epidemic control teams are now working throughout the country to keep a close eye on poultry and movement of wild birds. Efforts are made to raise the diagnosis capability of provincial epizootic prevention organs and increase preventive medicines.

Meanwhile, preventive measures are being taken against H7N9 virus under the direction of the State Emergency Anti-epidemic Committee. They include checkup of persons from the bird flu virus-hit areas, test and quarantine of poultry and restriction on movement of living fowls. A strict step was taken to hedge fowl, duck, pigeon and other domestic poultry off from the outer world.

Intensive hygienic information service is going on among inhabitants.

Additional information as the WSJ Korea Real Time.


(UPDATED) US removes DPRK from state sponsors of terror list

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

UPDATE 2: Below are a list of materials from the US Department of State web site related to the DPRK’s list removal:

1. Existing Sanctions and Reporting Provisions Related to North Korea (thorough, but does not mention that the DPRK never obtained MFN or NTR status with the US, making it subject to the higher column 2, Smoot-Hawley, tarrifs.

2. Briefing on North Korea With Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks Ambassador Sung Kim, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Sean McCormack, Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation Paula DeSutter, and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Patricia McNerney.

3. U.S.-DPRK Agreement on Denuclearization Verification Measures.

4. U.S.-North Korea Understandings on Verification

UPDATE 1: Since being removed from the list, it is now easier for the DPRK to obtain avian flu vaccinations from the US:

Yet deep inside an 86-page supplement to United States export regulations is a single sentence that bars U.S. exports of vaccines for avian bird flu and dozens of other viruses to five countries designated “state sponsors of terrorism.”

The reason: Fear that they will be used for biological warfare.

Under this little-known policy, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Syria and Sudan may not get the vaccines unless they apply for special export licenses, which would be given or refused according to the discretion and timing of the U.S. Three of those nations – Iran, Cuba and Sudan – also are subject to a ban on all human pandemic influenza vaccines as part of a general U.S. embargo.

Under normal circumstances it would take at least six weeks to approve export licenses for any vaccine on the list, said Thomas Monath, who formerly headed a CIA advisory group on ways to counter biological attacks. All such decisions would follow negotiations at a “very high level” of government.

That could makes it harder to contain an outbreak of bird flu among chickens in, say, North Korea, which is in the region hardest hit by the virus. Sudan and Iran already have recorded cases of the virus in poultry and Syria is surrounded by affected countries. Cuba, like all nations, is vulnerable because the disease is delivered by migratory birds.(Associated Press)

As reported in the Associated Press Saturday morning:

North Korea has agreed to all U.S. nuclear inspection demands and the Bush administration responded Saturday by removing the communist country from a terrorism blacklist. The breakthrough is intended to salvage a faltering disarmament accord before President Bush leaves office in January.

“Every single element of verification that we sought going in is part of this package,” State Department Sean McCormack said at a a rare weekend briefing.

North Korea will allow atomic experts to take samples and conduct forensic tests at all of its declared nuclear facilities and undeclared sites on mutual consent. The North will permit experts to verify that it has told the truth about transfers of nuclear technology and an alleged uranium program.

Verifying North Korea’s nuclear proliferation will be a serious challenge. This is the most secret and opaque regime in the entire world,” said Patricia McNerney, assistant secretary for international security and nonprofileration.

Proponents of de-listing say it is an important step in accomplishing the goals of the six-party talks which are ultimately aimed at realizing a denuclearized Korean peninsula.  Critics of this agreement claim that it addresses only the DPRK’s plutonium program while ignoring nuclear proliferation and uranium enrichment.  

North Korea stepped up the pressure this week barring IAEA inspectors from the DPRK’s nuclear facilities at Yongbyon:

North Korea “today informed International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that effective immediately access to facilities at Yongbyon would no longer be permitted,” IAEA spokesman Marc Vidricaire said today in an e-mail. The country “has informed the IAEA that our monitoring activities would no longer be appropriate.”

The demand that inspectors leave the whole complex, which is the source of the country’s weapons-grade plutonium, followed a Sept. 24 instruction that monitors quit the reprocessing plant. The new orders will prevent UN personnel from seeing whether North Korea is removing spent uranium fuel rods from cold-water holding tanks. Spent uranium can be turned into plutonium.

IAEA inspectors will remain in the town of Yongbyon until ordered to leave by North Korean authorities, the agency said. (Bloomberg)

UPDATE: According to Reuters, “North Korea said on Sunday it would resume taking apart its plutonium-producing nuclear plant and allow in inspectors in response to a U.S. decision to remove it from a terrorism blacklist and salvage a faltering nuclear deal.”

Despite these recent developments, or maybe because of them, the Bush administration quickly negotiated a de-listing agreement with Pyongyang and spent the last few days selling it to other governments involved in the six-party talks. Though South Korea supported the move, the Japanese government was divided.  Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa (a North Korea hard-liner) called the move “extremely regrettable” as Japan was using US terrorism de-listing as leverage to discover the whereabouts of kidnapped Japanese citizens.  This leverage is now gone since the next president of the US will not likely go through the effort of adding the DPRK to the list again.  Other members of the Japanese government, however, believe there will not be any resolution to this issue until the nuclear issue is resolved. 

De-listing marks the end of the second of three phases agreed to in the six-party talks.  The third stage includes completely dismantling Yongbyon and ending atomic development on the Korean peninsula.  This is likely to be even more difficult than the previous stages. (Bloomberg)

De-listing, however, carries more political than economic significance.  According to the State Department web site (here) countries are added to the list for the following reasons:

Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act (which expred in August 2001), section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act (wikipedia), and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.

Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors. Currently there are five countries designated under these authorities: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.

As discussed before (here and here), the DPRK still faces a myriad of legal barriers which restrict it from accessing global trade and financial markets, including the US Column 2 tariffs (Smoot-Hawley Tariffs), US Treasury sanctions, bilateral Japanese sanctions (renewed on Friday), and recent UN resolutions 1695 and 1718.  In other words, the DPRK does not have much to gain financially from de-lisitng.

Here is the initial executive order to begin de-listing.  Now that the US terrorism list is one country shorter, who remains? Cuba, Iran, Syria, Sudan.

Read the full article here:
N Korea off US blacklist after nuke inspection deal
Associated Press (via Washington Post)
Matthew Lee

N. Korea Removed From U.S. List of Terror Sponsors
James Rowley and Viola Gienger


North Korea deines epidemics

Friday, June 13th, 2008

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary 

North Korea has denied rumors that avian influenza or hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is spreading in the country, a radio report said on Tuesday [10 Jun 2008]. The North’s health authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) that there has been no single case of bird flu or HFMD reported to the authorities this year [2008]. The denial came in response to a report published a week ago by South Korean aid group Good Friends, claiming that a mysterious epidemic suspected to be bird flu or HFMD has been spreading in North Korean towns bordering China. The disease has already taken the lives in recent months of many North Korean infants already suffering from malnutrition caused by food shortages, the group claimed, citing unnamed North Korean doctors in the border area.

WHO has rendered technical and monetary support to North Korea to help prevent possible bird flu outbreaks since the communist state was hit by the deadly disease in 2005. No new case has been reported since then. Jai Narain, the director for communicable diseases at WHO’s South East Asia office in New Delhi, was quoted as saying that the international body is working closely with the North Korean health authorities to prevent any potential bird flu outbreak and that Pyongyang has submitted related reports to the organization on a regular basis. The France-based OIE (Office International des Epizooties, World Organisation for Animal Health) also said that the North’s latest report to the office included no information or reports of any bird flu outbreaks, the radio reported. North Korea has inoculated poultry against bird flu to prevent the spread of the virus from neighboring South Korea, according to the North’s state-run news media. South Korea has slaughtered over 8 million birds since early April 2008, when bird flu broke out there for the 1st time in more than a year. But no South Korean has died of bird flu. HFMD, meanwhile, has struck over 10 000 people resulting in 26 fatalities, all of them children, in recent months, according to Chinese media reports.)


North Korea launches anti avian flu procedures

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

UPDATE: From the Associated Press (Printed in the Herald Tribune):

The North’s Korean Central News Agency quoted quarantine official Ri Kyong Gun as saying all poultry in provinces near the border with the South have received emergency vaccinations, citing a bird flu outbreak in southern South Korea.

Ri was quoted as saying the North has also set up 1,600 observation posts along the east and west coasts to monitor the movement of migratory birds — which he said are a key way the virus spreads.

Bird flu hit North Korea in 2005, leading to the killing of about 210,000 birds, but no new cases have been reported since then.

Original Post:
North Korea sets up emergency body to fight  bird flu

From the article:

North Korea said on Wednesday that it has set up an emergency unit to tackle possible bird flu outbreaks after the disease spread widely in South Korea.

“The emergency state quarantine committee was formed to work out national plans to prevent a possible outbreak of bird flu,” said a television channel.

The committee will coordinate quarantine measures by local governments, the TV said, adding that it was set up on the instructions of leader Kim Jong-Il.

The North has reported no new case since it destroyed 210,000 chickens during an outbreak in 2005.

It has since actively taken part in anti-epidemic programmes offered by the World Health Organisation.

Several days ago, the DPRK banned South Korean poultry from the Kaesong Industrial Zone.

Read the full articles here:
North Korea sets up emergency body against bird flu

North Korea inoculates poultry against bird flu following outbreak in South Korea
Associated Press


DPRK enacts measures to prevent bird flu

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

From Yonhap:

North Korea on Tuesday asked South Korea not to bring poultry products to the inter-Korean industrial complex in Kaesong, a North Korean border town, in an attempt to prevent the introduction of bird flu into the communist state, the Unification Ministry said.

The ban from the North Korean quarantine office in the Kaesong complex includes birds, poultry and eggs, and will go into effect on Saturday, ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said.

There have not been any cases of bird flu reported in North Korea.

South Korea sends some 8.5 tons of chicken and 127,000 eggs every month to eateries in the complex, the ministry said.

If South Korean chicken has been taken off the menu in the Kaesong Zone, maybe they will replace it with some of that new low-cost American beef that should be on its way soon! 

I won’t hold my breath.

The full story can be read here:
N. Korea bans S. Korea from bringing poultry, eggs to Kaesong


Expert says N.K. becoming more open, better at dealing with national disasters

Monday, September 24th, 2007


North Korea is becoming more transparent and effective in dealing with disasters, spurred by both internal and external factors, an Asia-Pacific regional specialist said in his latest paper.

Dr. Alexandre Mansourov, a securities studies professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) in Hawaii, noted five trends in the North Korean government’s responses over the past decade to nationwide shocks, including floods, typhoons, drought and avian influenza outbreaks.

Increasing transparency is one of the trends, with Pyongyang more quickly admitting to disasters that have struck the nation, he said in a paper (download here) released last week through the Korea Economic Institute in Washington.

It took North Korea several years to admit the impact of natural disasters in the mid-1990s that led to massive starvation and chronic food shortages. But in August 2000, when it was hit by Typhoon Prapiroon, North Korea released the news three weeks after it occurred, and in the two following years, when other typhoons struck, North Korea reported it within three to six days, Mansourov said.

Pyongyang immediately acknowledged flooding in August 2007, he said.

“Observers agree that the timeliness, details, and amount of coverage of flood damage and rehabilitation work in August 2007 is unprecedented.”

North Korea is also showing institutional knowledge and a capacity for disaster management, with new organizations growing out of a decade of learning and experience, such as various provincial centers, the professor said.

The North Korean Red Cross Society has been exceptional, he said, working with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and has made itself the leading agency in disaster preparedness and response.

Inter-agency coordination has also increased, with deputy prime minister-level working groups working closely together in each disaster since the flood of 2001, as there are preventive programs through which basic relief supplies are stored in town and villages.

For example, the 10-year strategy against avian influenza, worked out by the emergency commission in 2005, would have been unthinkable a decade ago, Mansourov wrote.

Another notable trend is the increasing cooperation between the North Korean government and international humanitarian community, gradually allowing joint needs assessments and monitoring, he noted.

Mansourov argued that external factors helped bring about the changes.

“International factors did make a difference in what happened in (North Korea), especially through the introduction of innovative ideas and dissemination of best humanitarian practices,” in addition to foreign aid, he said.

The scholar also argued that while the country’s top leader, Kim Jong-il, does control any institutional changes, there is also adaptation driven by needs.

“There has been some degree of autonomous institutional learning and adaptation; it is incremental in nature and caused by both positive and negative feedback from the environment regarding institutional performance in crisis situations,” he said.


North Korean bird flu stamp

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Joong Ang Daily

satmp.jpgNorth Korea recently issued a new postage stamp on the prevention of bird flu, Choson Sinbo, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper published in Japan, reported yesterday.

“North Korea’s Stamp Company has been creating new stamps with world topics and urgent international issues. Among those is the avian influenza prevention stamp,” the newspaper said. “In North Korea, bird flu prevention measures have been conducted continuously as a national project.”

The newspaper quoted a North Korea Stamp Company official as saying, “This stamp was created to promote North Korea’s health policy and to warn the public about the need to be careful about the disease.”

The price of the stamp is 85 North Korean won.

In February 2005, bird flu outbreaks were reported in poultry farms near Pyongyang. Sources close to North Korea’s affairs have said more than 210,000 chickens have been slaughtered to contain the disease.


N. Korea Builds Hospital for Bird Flu Patients

Friday, January 5th, 2007

Korea Times

North Korea finished constructing a hospital ward for patients with bird flu and other contagious diseases with financial support from the World Health Organization (WHO), a media report said Sunday.

The WHO had been helping North Korea to build the isolation ward inside a Pyongyang hospital since June, said the Chosun Sinbo, published by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan.

In early 2005, North Korea reported an outbreak of avian influenza at several chicken farms in Pyongyang and asked for help from the international community.

“As part of preventive measures against the spread of contagious diseases, this ward was constructed in cooperation with the WHO,’’ the pro-Pyongyang newspaper said.

The report, however, did not give details on when the hospital ward would open officially.

According to the newspaper’s earlier reports, the isolation ward in Songsin Hospital will be a single-floor building with eight rooms covering 695 square meters of land.


Chinese assist DPRK with birdflu

Sunday, May 21st, 2006

From Yonhap:

A Chinese delegation of avian influenza experts arrived in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Sunday, according to state media there.

The Chinese group visited the statue of former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung in downtown Pyongyang, said the (North) Korean Central Television Broadcasting Station, monitored here, but it did not report the purpose of the group’s visit.

The Chinese government has donated equipment and material to North Korea to conduct an examination for bird flu, and on Wednesday signed an agreement with Pyongyang for cooperation regarding examination and possible quarantine measures.

North Korea has not reported a case of bird flu ever since an outbreak earlier last year was brought under control.


North Korea gets Chinese aid to fight bird flu

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

from the AFP:

North Korea received aid from China to help its fight against bird flu which has hit the impoverished state in recent years.

The Chinese aid, which included test kits, “will help prevent the spread of bird flu in the country via its border and trading ports,” the Korean Central News Agency said.

North Korea has recently launched public awareness campaigns against the avian influenza virus and has focused its efforts on isolating chickens and ducks from wild birds. No bird flu case has been reported so far this year.

The PDRK reported virus outbreaks in 2004 and 2005.

Early this year, a Japanese human rights activist said a North Korean woman had been infected in December. But Pyongyang has yet to confirm the case.