- Hello, Jeff - This does not sound good. My guess is
that North Korea might have been trying to hide the bird flu outbreak and
it has had a chance to really take hold in N. Korea. If this flu spreads
to S. Korea where the pigs are located, the reassortment or recombination
will take place and danger of pandemic becomes high.
- AVIAN INFLUENZA - NORTH KOREA (02): SUSPECTED
- A ProMED-mail post http://www.promedmail.org ProMED-mail
is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases http://www.isid.org
- Japan Bans North Korean Poultry In Bird Flu Scare
- The Scotsman
- Japan has banned poultry imports from North Korea following
a reported bird flu outbreak in Pyongyang, officials said today.
- South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday
[15 Mar 2005] that thousands of chickens died from bird flu at a processing
plant in the North's capital of Pyongyang last month and that the communist
nation was believed to be preparing emergency measures.
- Japan imposed its ban later on Tuesday as a preventative
measure, although Japanese authorities so far have been unable to confirm
the report, an official at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
said on condition of anonymity.
- North Korea's state media announced last year that the
country was strengthening quarantine measures against avian influenza following
the outbreak in Southeast Asia, but before this week there had been no
reports of the virus in the country.
- Japan imported 5 tons of duck meat in 2002, the only
poultry import from North Korea over the last 5 years, the ministry said.
- Bird flu has killed 33 people in Vietnam, 13 of them
in the latest outbreak that began in December. One died in Cambodia earlier
this year, and another 12 in Thailand.
- Tokyo currently bans poultry meat imports from more than
a dozen nations where avian flu has struck.
- Bird flu hit Japan in January  for the 1st time
in 79 years. The government confirmed in December the 1st case of human
infection in the country but no death was reported.
- ProMED-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- ****** 
- Probe Into North Korea Bird Flu
- (Reuters) -- South Korean officials are investigating
a report of a massive bird flu outbreak in the North Korean capital last
month that killed several thousand chickens.
- Quoting an unnamed source, Yonhap news agency said on
Tuesday [15 Mar 2005] the chickens died at a poultry farm in Pyongyang,
prompting an emergency response from North Korean authorities.
- Officials in Seoul said a South Korean food processing
firm had asked Pyongyang to suspend the shipment of 40 tonnes of chicken
due to arrive in the South on Thursday [17 Mar 2005]. "It won't be
coming on Thursday," an agriculture ministry official said by telephone.
- The shipment was to have been the 1st import of meat
products in 5 decades from the North under a bilateral agreement signed
earlier in 2005 providing for cross-border trade of some commodities.
- Kim Hong-jae, a spokesman for the South's Unification
Ministry, said there was no evidence yet to confirm the bird flu outbreak,
but the government was following up the report.
- Dick Thompson, a spokesman for the World Health Organization,
said the agency had no 1st-hand information and that what was coming out
of North Korea appeared to be based on reports by businessmen. "Right
now it is at the level of rumor. We are in the process of trying to verify
it," he said.
- Yonhap said it was not immediately clear if the outbreak
was restricted to the farm, believed to be the largest in the country and
located in the western part of Pyongyang.
- It was also not clear if the strain of virus involved
was H5N1, which can jump from birds to humans and is deadly. That strain
of the virus has killed 34 Vietnamese, 12 Thais and one Cambodian since
it swept across large parts of Asia in late 2003.
- Yonhap said North Korean authorities had buried the dead
chickens but that some residents had dug up the poultry to sell.
- North Korea's state media last week said authorities
were doing everything to prevent bird flu from infiltrating the country,
but did not say whether there had been an outbreak of the disease. "Veterinary
and anti-epizootic work has been intensified at central and local chicken
and poultry farms," the North's official KCNA news agency said on
7 Mar 2005.
- That report was just one in a series of North Korean
state media reports that stressed the danger of a bird flu epidemic and
described measures to prevent it. Kim at the Unification Ministry said
such reports had alerted South Korean officials to the possibility of an
- South Korea confirmed in December 2004 an outbreak of
a milder form of bird flu at a duck hatchery, although the virus type --
identified as H5N2 -- was different from the highly contagious H5N1 strain.
South Korea confirmed 19 cases of H5N1 infection at poultry farms between
December 2003 and March 2004, resulting in a mass cull of poultry.
- No infection in humans have been reported in South Korea,
but the outbreak halted the country's modest poultry exports to Japan,
Hong Kong and China.
- -- ProMED-mail
- ****** 
- Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 From: ProMED-mail
- Bird Flu Would Be Nightmare N. Korea
- By Charles Whelan
AFP via Chinapost.com
- Health experts are hoping that reports of a bird flu
outbreak in North Korea prove unfounded, saying the disease would prove
a nightmare to combat inside the isolated Stalinist state.
- Information reaching the outside world from North Korea
is notoriously hard to verify, and South Korean officials said they are
unable to confirm a report that the North is suffering its 1st outbreak
of avian influenza.
- "It would be a nightmare if it's true, because we
need governments to work with us and that might not be so easy with North
Korea," said an official of the World Health Organization (WHO) who
declined to be named.
- According to the report by South Korea's Yonhap news
agency on Tuesday, an outbreak of suspected bird flu has killed thousands
of chickens at one of Pyongyang's largest poultry farms.
- The source of the report was a South Korean who had encountered
North Korean officials on a business trip to Beijing, according to the
news agency. The WHO said it was treating the report as a "rumor"
so far and regional representatives were seeking more details.
- "As soon as we heard the report, we put in a request
with Pyongyang for more information. We have got nothing back yet,"
said Harsaran Pandey, WHO regional information officer based in New Delhi.
- She said the world body had an acting representative
in the North Korean capital. "Even so, it is a difficult country to
get information out of."
- If confirmed, it would be the 1st time that bird flu,
which has caused serious health risks in Southeast Asia and China, has
hit the isolated communist state. North Korea has said the country was
free of the disease and recently tightened quarantine checks at airports,
seaports and border areas. Experts said, however, that the disease was
no respecter of borders and could have been carried into North Korea through
infected migratory birds heading north from Southeast Asia at the approach
- Since late 2003 the WHO has registered a total of 69
human cases of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, of which 46 were fatal.
- If Pyongyang comes up with confirmation, international
health officials will offer to help it combat the outbreak that could be
costly and damaging for a country unable to feed its people.
- North Korea has for more than a decade relied on food
aid from donor countries to meet the needs of its 23 million people. A
confirmed outbreak of bird flu would necessarily trigger a vast cull of
poultry, a main sources of animal protein for North Koreans.
- According to one Yonhap report, starving North Koreans
had dug up and consumed the infected chickens that had been buried at the
- The WHO's Pandey said the international body was hoping
for cooperation from North Korea.
- -- ProMED-mail
- The current rumors on AI in Pyongyang have, so far, not
been confirmed by the N. Korean authorities, and thus the disease remains
"suspected." Korea (Dem. People's Rep.) is a member-country of
the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE); its current representative
is Dr Jong Gwang Pak, Director of the veterinary and anti-epidemic Department
in the Ministry of Agriculture, Pyongyang.
- No disease notification reports -- be they weekly, monthly
or annual -- from N.Korea are available on OIE's web-sited database, dating
back to 1996. The current import prohibition by other countries may be
explained by the unclear epidemiological situation in N.Korea. - Mod.AS
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging
- message board at: http://www.clickitnews.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health