Kim Jong Un orders more vigilance to prevent avian flu outbreak

Order comes as China is facing an outbreak of avian flu in Hunan Province

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently ordered his government to strengthen disease control measures to prevent an outbreak of avian flu, Daily NK has learned.

North Korean military units were deployed earlier this month to chase away birds from major bird breeding grounds in the country.

Kim Jong Un reportedly held an early morning meeting on Feb. 14 with high-ranking officials to discuss ways to strengthen measures to control avian flu, according to a Pyongyang-based source on Feb. 20.

“The meeting was held at 3 AM and included major party and government officials, including Chae Ryong Hae, the first vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission, and Premier Kim Jae Ryong,” the source told Daily NK.

The meeting was held in the early morning hours of Feb. 14 ostensibly as part of efforts to show state officials how seriously they need to take measures against the disease, the source added.

The meeting reportedly designated several areas of the country as having a high potential for outbreaks of avian flu. These areas included Sindo County in North Pyongan Province, Rason Special Economic Zone, and Mundok County in South Pyongan Province. Kim ordered his officials to focus outbreak prevention efforts on those areas, Daily NK sources said.

Kim also ordered a two-fold increase in the number of people working to prevent avian flu outbreaks in those areas. He reportedly emphasized that those managing disease control efforts in designated bird protection areas should use “all means at their disposal” to prevent an outbreak of the disease.

During the meeting, Kim reportedly pointed out that the outside world was uncertain about how effective North Korea’s efforts were to prevent disease and subsequently ordered his officials to take all measures necessary to prevent an outbreak of avian flu.

“Kim designated several specific areas of the country where avian flu is most likely to occur and ordered his officials to focus disease prevention efforts there,” the source in Pyongyang told Daily NK.

Kim reportedly also emphasized that officials should take “appropriate measures” in areas outside of bird protection zones and that they should quickly cull fowl in nearby chicken farms if an avian flu outbreak occurs in the zones.

Chinese authorities have reportedly culled more than 10,000 fowl in Shaoyang, a city in Hunan Province, following an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) linked to the H5N1 virus variant.

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