Go to contents

New Cases of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Found

Posted January. 20, 2010 08:36,   


More cows with food-and-mouth disease have been found in Yeoncheon County, Gyeonggi Province, while suspected cases have also been discovered in South Chungcheong Province, the Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry said yesterday.

The ministry earlier reported the country’s fifth outbreak of the disease.

“Cows suspected of having food-and-mouth disease were found at a farm in (the township of) Cheongsan-myeon in Yeoncheon County, or 9.3 kilometers from the farm in Pocheon where the first outbreak occurred,” the ministry said. “The National Institute of Veterinary and Quarantine Service also said four cows tested positive for the disease.”

The Yeoncheon farm was not designated as an area for heightened vigilance though it was within 10 kilometers of the Pocheon farm because it is surrounded by mountains. No restrictions were thus imposed to limit the transit of animals and humans at the Yeoncheon farm, and only decontamination and preventive surveillance were put in place.

The Yeoncheon farm was also not inspected by a veterinarian in the previous four outbreaks of the disease, while cows from the Pocheon farm were never relocated.

A ministry official said, “So far, confirmed cases have only been found in Pocheon and epidemiologically linked to the (Yeoncheon) farm. But the fifth outbreak has occurred at an unexpected location unrelated to previous ones.”

The ministry warned of further transmission of the disease through cow feed because the Yeoncheon farm owner has also run a cow feed store. Accordingly, buyers of the feed in question will be traced.

Quarantine authorities also received reports yesterday saying cows suspected of having the disease were found in the township of Eungam-myeon in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province. The cows initially tested negative but the ministry said the results of a closer examination will be announced today.

A ministry source said, “Seosan is far away not only from Pocheon, the site of the initial outbreak, but also from other regions to which cows from (the Yeoncheon) farm were transported (Yeoju in Gyeonggi Province and Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province).”

“If food-and-mouth disease is confirmed in Seosan, the fear is that the disease will spread further like in the past.”

In 2000, the disease was reported in six cities and counties in three provinces, and in four cities and counties in two provinces in 2002.

The ministry has culled all cattle within a 500-meter radius from the Yeoncheon farm to contain the disease. A quarantine and countermeasures center has been set up in Yeoncheon following one established in Pocheon.

The ministry said, “Thorough decontamination is the best way to prevent the spread of food-and-mouth disease,” adding, “We urge farmers to actively cooperate on National Sanitization Day every Wednesday, and report all cows suspected of having food-and-mouth disease to authorities.”

alwaysj@donga.com mhjee@donga.com