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Two More Outbreaks of FMD in S Korea

18 January 2011

SOUTH KOREA - The authorities have confirmed two additional cases of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) today as the government considers revamping its national quarantine system.

Yonhap reports that the disease hit a pig farm in Yesan and a cattle farm in Daegu 134 kilometres and 300km from Seoul, respectively, bringing the total number of confirmed FMD outbreaks to 122, the farm ministry said.

All 3,110 animals at the two farms have been ordered destroyed, along with livestock within a 500-metre radius of the sites, so as to prevent further spread of the disease, the ministry said. The outbreak in Daegu is the first reported for the city, although there were large numbers of outbreaks in nearby areas.

Related to the outbreaks that have been going on for more than 50 days, Farm Minister, Yoo Jeong-bok, said there is a pressing need to revamp the country's emergency quarantine measures.

"It may be necessary to look at the quarantine system from scratch to prevent possible outbreaks in the future," he said, without going into details.

FMD is highly contagious and affects all cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, pigs, deer, goats and buffalo. It is classified as a "List A" disease by the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), although it is harmless to humans.

The disease, meanwhile, has forced Seoul to cull and bury more than 2.1 million cattle, pigs, goats and deer with damage estimated to run to around two trillion won (KRW; US$1.78 billion).

According to Yonhap, the country had moved to vaccinate a limited number of animals on 25 December after initial quarantine efforts proved inadequate to control the outbreak that has spread to most parts of the country.

Authorities said that more than 12 million vaccine doses will be imported by the end of the month so all animals can be vaccinated.

Seoul said last week that it will vaccinate all livestock across the country, including those on Jeju Island off the country's south-western coast, which have not been affected so far. South Korea has some 13 million cows and pigs in the country.

In addition to the latest series of outbreaks, the country was hit by the disease in 2000, 2002 and two more times early last year, concludes the Yonhap report.


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