Adjustment of the Warning Level of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza[Warning→Caution]
Public Relations Division
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (Minister Kim Hyeon-Soo, MAFRA) adjusted the warning level of avian influenza to “caution” as of April 1st, from “warning” in last October following the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in domestic wild birds and announced that it would implement animal health control measures focused on the prevention going forward.

1. The quarantine situation and adjustment of warning levels

The population significantly reduced as migratory birds, which used to stay in Korea for winter, went further northward. The outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry farms peaked in early February and plunged thereafter. No additional case broke out for one month since March 2nd.
* Population of winter migratory birds: (Mid-January, 2022) 1.76 million → (Mid-February) 1.36 → (Mid-March) 0.55 * Outbreak in poultry farms: (Mid-January, 2022) 1 case → (Late-January) 8 → (Early February) 11 → (Mid-February) 4 → (Late-February) 1 → (March 2nd) 1

Recent nationwide comprehensive inspection on farms vulnerable to quarantine risks of layer hens, Korean native chickens, and ducks, conducted by MAFRA until the end of March revealed no additional highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses.

*Comprehensive and complete inspection from March 21st to March 30th on laying hens, ducks, breeding birds, Korean native chickens, quails, traditional markets and related 2,426 farms

As a result, MAFRA adjusted the warning level of highly pathogenic avian influenza from “warning” to “caution” as of April 1st, following the deliberations of the Animal Quarantine Deliberation Committee, attended by relevant ministries, experts, and producers’ groups, and decided to designate the preventive slaughter area as “within a 500m radius of an affected farm”.
*(Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Warning System): A total of 3 levels (Attention-Caution-Warning)
**(Current Slaughter Area): 500 m for all species + 1 km for the HPAI outbreak in ducks (ducks)

2. Current Quarantine Measures for HPAI and future plans

A total of 46 HPAI cases broke out in poultry farms from November 8th, 2021 to March 2nd, 2022, down 58% year-on-year (109 cases in last winter. For laying hens, the number of cases went down by 67% from 42 to 14 during the same period). The cases went down by 88%, compared to 2016/2017, when the situation was the worst (383 cases from the winter 2016~2017 to 46).

The slaughter of poultry went down by about 76.2% (29,934,000 last year → 7,134,000) year-on-year, as the scope of preventive slaughter has been flexibly adjusted based on the scientific risk assessment results, and went down by 81.2%, compared to the winter 2016/2017 (37,872,000 → 7,134,000)

They are the results of effective implementation of farms’ voluntary quarantine measures and quarantine policies including △ strengthened surveillance and inspection on poultry farms and wild birds, △ stringent control of entry into poultry farms and livestock facilities, disinfection∙inspection and △ stronger control measures on vulnerable species and regions.

MAFRA will continue to strengthen △ all-time surveillance system for poultry farms and △ management of new breeding within farms where animals were culled and within the control zone (10km radius of an affected farm). Also, MAFRA will devise and implement preventive measures by △ monitoring quarantine situations of poultry farms nationwide and △ improving the “disease control grading system for laying hens farms” which was adopted in a pilot manner last year.

3. Request from MAFRA

Director General Park Jeong-Hoon of Animal Health Policy Bureau of MAFRA said, “HPAI can occur at any time again until migratory birds completely go northward, so we should stay vigilant.” The Director-General requested, “Personnel of poultry farms should minimize the number of vehicles and people coming in and out of farms at all time. When necessary, basic quarantine measures such as thorough disinfection should be followed, while disinfection∙quarantine facilities should be thoroughly monitored. All necessary measures should be taken before this winter.”