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South Korea to cull more than 20,000 ducks after report of possible bird flu

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea will cull more than 20,000 ducks after reporting its first possible outbreak of bird flu since 2011, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said a duck farm in Gochang, North Jeolla Province, about 300 km (186 miles) southwest of Seoul, was likely to have been contaminated by the H5N1 virus. Final tests are due out later on Friday.

The suspected case of the virus was reported on Thursday and the provincial government has taken pre-emptive measures to control the spread of any disease and ordered a cull of more than 20,000 poultry at the farm.

Poultry movement controls have also been ordered and 24 poultry farms in four provinces, that recently bought ducks from the Gochang farm, have been quarantined.

Asia's fourth-largest economy has had four outbreaks of the virus in the past 10 years, the last one in 2011 which led to the slaughter over 3 million poultry, but no human cases of the bird flu strain have been reported.

In Asia, around 150 people in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong have been infected by the new H7N9 strain of bird flu since it emerged in China last year, claiming at least 46 lives.

(Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Michael Perry)

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