South Korea plans to establish about 23 teams to conduct year-round monitoring for bird flu, the agriculture ministry said Tuesday. The decision comes after the country experienced its worst bird flu outbreak, which led to the slaughter of more than 8 million domestic birds.
As part of the new program, migratory and resident wild birds will be monitored regularly and all chicken and duck farms will be inspected every other week for strains of bird flu, Agence France-Presse reported.
Until now, South Korea went on heightened bird flu alert from November to March, when migratory birds stay in the country and weather conditions can promote the spread of bird flu. But this year, an outbreak began in early April and spread through most of the country.
Even though the country has had three major bird flu outbreaks, no person in South Korea is known to have contracted the disease, AFP reported. Worldwide, the H5N1 bird flu virus has killed more than 240 people since 2003.