JINJU, South Korea, Dec. 6 (Korea Bizwire) – Three weeks have passed since the first detection of the H5N6 avian influenza virus in South Korea, but officials are still struggling to contain the outbreak.
Over 4.4 million poultry had been culled as of Tuesday morning, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, with an additional 2.6 million birds waiting to be slaughtered.
Amid fast spreading concerns, the Gyeongsangnam-do Agricultural Research & Extension Services developed an ICT-based farm access control system, dubbed the Farm Safety Keeper (translated), in partnership with local IT company Telebit, that should help prevent further proliferation of the virus.
The system, installed at farm entrances, starts recording high-definition video and sends a warning broadcast when it detects vehicles or visitors. It also displays warning text on an electronic display to restrict farm access by outsiders.
In addition, it can automatically open the gate for pre-registered vehicles, while for non-registered vehicles, it sends an emergency signal to the farm’s operator to confirm the identity of the visitor. The farmer can then open the gate remotely if access is approved.
Officials added that the system’s features can be controlled via smartphone, allowing quarantine officials to check the status of a farm’s unmanned disinfection systems and also monitor vehicles entering and exiting the premises.
A total of 45 farms across the country have so far had the devices installed as part of a pilot project.
“The system stores high-definition images of visitors and vehicles entering farms, enabling better tracking of diseases, and allowing more rigorous control of farm access,” said GNARES president Kang Yang-su. “We expect it to help us better prevent infectious diseases like avian influenza, and in turn limit the mass slaughter of livestock.”
By Kevin Lee (email@example.com)