Officials cull chickens at an egg farm in Anseong, 77 kilometers south of Seoul, last Thursday. (Yonhap)
South Korea's agricultural ministry said Tuesday it is investigating two suspected cases of highly pathogenic bird flu from poultry farms as the country continued to cull more chickens in a preventive measure.
The latest suspected case of the malign H5N8 strain of avian influenza came from an egg farm in Yongin, just south of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.
The total caseload here reached 66 as of Tuesday, with Gyeonggi Province that surrounds Seoul accounting for 17 cases.
More infections were reported nationwide, with North and South Jeolla Provinces also accounting for 14 and 13, respectively.
The number of birds culled here since late November topped 18.8 million as of Tuesday, including 15.3 million chickens. South Korea culls all poultry within a 3-kilometer radius of infected farms.
In line with the rise in bird flu cases and subsequent culling of more birds, the local consumer price of eggs shot up 26.6 percent over the past seven-day period, compared to the previous year.
The price of chicken and duck meat also soared 10.5 and 35.1 percent, respectively.
South Korea has been raising its guard against migratory birds as highly pathogenic bird flu cases also piled up from their habitats.
Since late October, a total of 79 cases were reported from wild birds. Another batch of 16 suspected cases is currently under investigation. (Yonhap)