The following is a translated summary of a report from the local press. It has been edited for clarity, including the addition of links and information needed for readers unfamiliar with Jeju. — Ed.
Jeju Special Self-Governing Province has made a public announcement regarding measures it is taking to help prevent the spread of avian flu. Both the Korean and Jeju provincial governments have been carefully monitoring the situation since news of the March 2013 discovery in China of avian flu strain H7N9 — which can spread to humans and is potentially lethal.
1) The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has warned that, as an H5N1 infection was discovered at a duck farm in Pyongyang, it has been taking steps to prevent further spread of avian flu throughout the peninsula. Scientists on Jeju monitoring the migratory routes of birds have found that spot-billed ducks — which may act as local carriers of the disease — have continued to stay around reservoirs in Hangyeong district.
2) Test results of migratory birds from China have shown negative to the avian flu virus and thus far no signs of the virus have been found in South Korea. However, in contrast, Chinese authorities have reported 126 people infected and 33 deaths from avian flu virus between March 31 through April 30.(*)
3) Therefore, to help prevent the spread of the virus, the Jeju provincial government will enforce restrictions on poultry farms and persons traveling to these farms. These will include asking poultry farmers to:
1. Practice strict disinfection protocols;
2. Refrain from traveling to countries like China, or if this is not an option, to ensure they go through all the disinfection procedures at the airport and to not return to Jeju farmland for at least five days.
At the provincial level, officials will increase control measures for farms and impose fines when the rules are not followed. Also, they will promote fumigation and increase monitoring and reporting of results. — Jeju Gov’t News
(*) According to a May 14 update in science journal Nature, there have been no reports of new cases in China since May 7. For more information on H7N9, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a dedicated section on their Web site. — Ed.