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H5N1

North Korea says it has bird flu vaccine

Friday, December 22, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: H5N1, bird flu, bird flu vaccine

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(NewsTarget) North Korea claims it has developed a poultry vaccine against the deadly H5N1 type of bird flu virus. North Korean officials have also stated that they are inoculating chickens as part of stepped-up efforts to prevent the disease from spreading, following outbreaks in nearby South Korea.

Ri Kyong Gun, director of the North's Veterinary and Anti-Epidemic Department, stated that "The production of H5N1 vaccine locally developed recently in our country is increased and the compulsory vaccination of it to whole poultry flocks is being done." Ri did not state, however, how the vaccine was developed or how effective it is.

The H5N1 virus infected North Korea early in 2005, which prompted the slaughter of about 210,000 chickens and other poultry. Currently, no new cases have been reported.

There is a tight border from the democratic South Korea and the communist North Korea, although three cases of bird flu have broken out since last month in neighboring South Korea, which has forced the government there to dispose of more than 1.13 million birds.

Director Ri stated, "Because of the bird flu outbreaks in South Korea recently, we are further strengthening quarantine efforts." Jo Yong Pil -- head of a veterinary control team at a chicken farm in Pyongyang -- added "Our chicken farm is taking thorough measures to ban contacts from outside, control vehicles and people coming in and out of the farm and vaccinate whole poultry flocks."

At the same chicken farm this week, quarantine workers were disinfecting all trucks entering the farm by spraying disinfectants on the vehicles and putting disinfectant powder on the ground to make sure tires do not carry the virus. In addition, quarantine workers at the farm were seen giving vaccine shots to chickens.

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