A new case of bird flu was confirmed Tuesday, leading to 41 verified cases of the virus in the country, officials said.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, over 10,000 ducks at a farm in Eumseong-gun, North Chungcheong Province, were found to be infected with the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza. The ducks began to show symptoms on Sunday.
Quarantine officials slaughtered the poultry as a preventive measure on Monday.
As of Tuesday afternoon, a total of 103 suspected cases of bird flu have been identified in the country since the first outbreak on Jan. 16. Of these, 41 cases have been confirmed and an additional 41 have been verified as negative for the virus. The rest are still under investigation.
Among the confirmed cases, 15 were discovered through reports while the others were found during the culling process. All poultry within a 3-kilometer radius from virus-infected locations are immediately slaughtered.
Meanwhile, a local news outlet reported Tuesday that 10 people were infected with bird flu between 2004 and 2007 when the H5N1 strain broke out. It added that they had not shown any symptoms.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare acknowledged that some tested positive when it conducted an antibody test for those who participated in the poultry-culling process.
The ministry, however, stressed that the postive test results do not necessarily point to cases of human infection ― symptoms would first have to be shown.
According to the World Health Organization, once one shows symptoms of acute respiratory diseases, one of three conditions must be satisfied to call it an “infection”: the virus must be detected, the DNA test must be positive or there must be more than a fourfold increase in the usual number of antibodies.
The ministry confirmed that none of these conditions were met for the concerned people.
The WHO did not count these as cases of human infection, it said.
The ministry also added that the avian influenza this year is H5N8, a new type of bird flu in the country.