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Bird Flu Outbreak in Chonan, Central South Korea

A recent bird flu outbreak has been reported in a duck farm in Chonan, in central South Korea. 31 ducks died on Tuesday and it was confirmed as bird flu on Thursday//. The cause was identified as "highly pathogenic'' bird flu virus.

It is the seventh bird flu outbreak since November reported in South Korea. H5N1 virus was the cause of the six previous outbreaks in Korea.

The culling of over 55,000 poultry will begin shortly within the 3-kilometer (2-mile) radius from the outbreak site to avoid the spread of the virus, said a city official.

Over 2 million birds have been slaughtered so far in South Korea in the past five months. During the last outbreak in 2003, South Korea had culled nearly 5.3 million birds.

The H5N1 virus had caused a lot of damage to Asian poultry stocks during the 2003 outbreak when more than 160 people were killed worldwide.

Most human cases registered so far have been traced to direct contact with infected birds. Scientists dread the virus could mutate into a human virus that could transmit easily among humans causing a dreadful pandemic.

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