North Reaffirms Action on Avian Flu

North Korea has confirmed it is working to prevent an outbreak of avian influenza.

In a piece published on the 8th entitled “Through Solid Operation and Tenacious Practice”, the Rodong Sinmun announced that health ministry officials have initiated policy to tackle a range of contagious diseases, including influenza, measles and avian flu. 

“The prevalence of contagious diseases is being dealt to methodically by the Ministry of Public Health, and a detailed plan of action has been established.  An emergency conference has been held and emergency prevention committees at the provincial, city and county level have been accorded increased responsibility.  They are undertaking revolutionary measures in the advance prevention of such contagious diseases,” it was written. 

It was further added that cadres dispatched from the health ministry are operating quarantine stations at border stations, airfields and ports to monitor those returning from trips abroad.

The piece did not elaborate on whether the country had experienced an outbreak of the avian flu, confirming instead the World Health Organization visited the North in late January to oversee poultry inspections.

A second Rodong Sinmun piece entitled “The Danger of Infectious Diseases and Policy for Prevention” declared that, “In addition to cooperative farms and households, areas containing poultry and birds such as chicken, duck and ostrich farms must adhere to regulations for breeding animals in captivity. This requires disinfection in line with high standards of hygiene.”

The reports follow a news item that aired on Chosun Central Television on the 5th that proclaimed, “An inspection and notification system has been established regarding the routes of migratory birds. Additionally, outsiders are not permitted to enter poultry farms, and inspections of employees and the birds themselves are underway.”

If contracted by humans, severe cases of the H7N9 strain of avian flu can result in death.