Poultry Flu - first human cases in South Korea
23 February 2006

South Korea has confirmed its first cases of actual human infection. A report was published in the English-language Chosun Ilbo on April 24th:

Chosun Ilbo:

Four Human Bird Flu Infections Confirmed.

Korea on Friday confirmed four infections with the deadly human strain of bird flu in the country.

  • The Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the four tested positive for antibodies of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza but showed no symptoms of the disease, meaning their immune systems overcame the infection.

  • The KCDC said it sent blood samples of 11 Koreans who took part in the cull of chickens and ducks during the bird flu outbreak between December 2003 and March 2004 to the U.S... which found that four of them - a soldier and three workers -- produced antibodies. The 11 had tested positive when the KCDC conducted its own tests last year of blood samples of 318 owners and workers at 19 poultry farms countrywide... A KCDC official said the four took the antiviral drug Tamiflu at the time, did not show symptoms for 10 days and remain in good health...

  • Japan also had no confirmed human infections of bird flu at the time of its outbreak, but blood tests later confirmed two infections without symptoms. There were five confirmed cases in Kyoto in December 2004 and 77 cases in places including Ibaraki prefecture in January 2006... “The number of confirmed bird flu infections may rise since we are currently testing blood samples taken from 1,600 people at the time”, KCDC director Oh Dae-gyu said. “But we have had no avian flu patients yet, and the country will maintain its status as a bird flu-free nation.”

  • Experts urge workers at chicken and duck farms to wear gloves and masks and wash thoroughly to prevent infection.