SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean authorities said Friday that they are examining whether two cats found dead earlier this week were infected with a recently discovered virulent strain of avian influenza.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said they’ve so far uncovered that two cats found dead in Pocheon, some 46km north of Seoul, have been infected with the H5 strain of bird flu, but they are conducting tests to verify whether the animals died of the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of avian influenza (AI) that is sweeping the nation this month.
The ministry said its Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency is carrying out tests to see if the H5N6 strain is in the corpse. The result is expected to come out on Saturday.
This is the first time since February 2015 that South Korea has found AI in mammals. Last year, South Korea reported a bird flu infection in a dog.
The authorities said that people who are suspected to have had contact with the cats haven’t shown any AI infection symptoms. However, since the incubation period for human cases of AI infection is known to be 10 days, the health authorities said they will closely monitor those who have had contact with the animals.