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FMD Spreads: Two New Outbreaks North of Seoul

15 December 2010

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea has reported two additional cases of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) at pig farms north of Seoul, fueling worries over a nationwide spread of the disease that was first reported in a city located hundreds of kilometres south of the capital.

The additional cases were confirmed at farms in Yangju and Yeoncheon, according to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, reports Yonhap.

"The farms have about 1,200 pigs each and are owned by the same farmer," the Ministry said.

The outbreak of the animal disease was first reported on 29 November at two pig farms in Andong, a city located 270 kilometres south-east of Seoul.

The cases in Yangju and Yeoncheon, both north of Seoul, mark the first cases of the disease outside of North Gyeongsang Province.

Three other suspected cases were also reported today at two pig farms in Yeoncheon and a farm in Paju, also north of Seoul, prompting the government to call for "nationwide efforts" to curb the spread of the disease.

"FMD virus easily spreads via people and vehicles, and that is why we need, more than ever, all-out and careful national efforts," the government said in a special statement signed by Agriculture Minister Yoo Jeong-bok and also by the minister of public administration and security, Maeng Hyung-kyu.

Another suspected case was later reported at a cattle farm in Moongyeong, about 30 kilometres west of Andong, bringing to 50 the total number of suspected cases reported so far. Thirty-four cases have been confirmed positive while four other cases also tested positive among cattle destroyed before test results came in.

The government is further stepping up its quarantine efforts, already having destroyed nearly 98 per cent of more than 152,000 animals subject to culling as of Wednesday morning [15 December], according to the ministry.

The Yonhap report adds that South Korea stayed clear of the animal disease from 2002 until the beginning of this year. The disease affects all cloven-hoofed animals, including cows, sheep and deer. Countries affected by the disease are barred from exporting meat from animals with cloven hoofs though the disease does not affect humans.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on foot and mouth disease (FMD) by clicking here.


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