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H5N1 On Third South Korean Farm
Recombinomics Commentary
December 11, 2006

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said the latest case of avian influenza is suspected of having killed over a thousand quail at a farm in Gimje, North Jeolla Province.

"An examination of the dead quail showed that the deaths were caused by a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza," said Lee Sang-kil, director of the ministry's livestock bureau.

"At the moment, the outbreak at this farm does not appear to be related to the first and second cases in Iksan.

There are three other farms in the village that reported the latest avian influenza outbreak, each with 70,000 birds.

"Officials are going to discuss whether or not to expand the radius to 3 kilometers," Lee said.

The above comments indicate that the massive culling of birds in or near the two farms with confirmed H5N1 did not prevent the spread to a third farm near the site of the H5N1 outbreak in December, 2003.  The outbreak in the same region almost exactly three years later add additional evidence for spread by migratory birds, some of which summer in Mongolia prior to migrating over South Korea at this time of the year.

The 2003/2004 H5N1 isolates from South Korea / Japan were related to the Qinghai strain of H5N1, which has a novel cleavage site of GERRRKKR, although the cleavage site of the 2003/2004 isolates from Korea / Japan were missing an R.

The release of the HA cleavage site sequence from the 2006 H5N1 isolates would be useful.

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