South Korea culls nearly 22 million poultry amid bird flu outbreaks

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Seoul, Jan. 25 (BNA): South Korea's agricultural ministry said Monday it has completed destruction of 21.7 million poultry since late November to prevent the spread of highly pathogenic bird flu at farms.

The total number of confirmed cases of malign H5N8 strain of avian influenza here reached 72 on the previous day, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, South Korean News Agency (Yonhap) reported.

The latest case was traced to an egg farm in Hwaseong, south of Seoul.

With authorities culling more poultry being raised at near infected farms, the local price of related food items continued to rise sharply.

Over the past week, the average consumer price of eggs shot up 24.8 percent from the previous year. Those of chicken and duck meat advanced 14.9 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively.

South Korea plans to import up to a combined 50,000 tons of fresh eggs and seven other types of egg products without tariffs until the end of June.

Cases traced to wild birds, meanwhile, also showed no signs of letup, with related infections reaching 95.