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Foot-and-mouth Outbreak Spreads to Chungcheong

Posted April. 23, 2010 02:32,   


Foot-and-mouth disease has spread from the Incheon area and Gyeonggi Province to the Chungcheong provinces despite government efforts to contain it.

The Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said yesterday that it confirmed outbreaks of the contagious disease at three livestock farms, including a pig farm in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, and a cattle farm in Ganghwa County in Incheon. The three farms reported suspicious symptoms to the government Wednesday.

Chungju is the first area outside of Gyeonggi and Incheon to be affected by this year’s outbreak. With the disease spreading inland, fear is rising that the disease has spread nationwide.

“The Chungju farm raises 1,000 heads of pig and eight of them were confirmed infected with the disease,” the ministry said. “We began culling 12,640 heads of cloven-hoofed animals within a three-kilometer radius of the affected farm.”

This brings the number of culled animals nationwide to 42,793 since the first outbreak in Ganghwa April 8.

The National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service said the serum type of the foot-and-mouth virus detected in Chungju is “O,” or identical to that found in Ganghwa and Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province. The government said the virus allegedly spread to Chungju through vehicles of a company that supplies mother pigs and pig semen. The vehicles visited both Ganghwa and Chungju.

An official at the quarantine service said, “The vehicles visited Ganghwa March 26 and Chungju March 29,” adding, “We suspect that the virus was spread by humans, and are conducting epidemiological surveys on farms in Gimpo and Paju, Gyeonggi Province.”

To contain the spread of the disease, quarantine work is underway in areas within 20 kilometers of the affected farm in Chungju. Because pigs in inland areas were affected by the disease, which spreads among pigs faster than among cows, quarantine efforts have been raised to the highest level. “With the outbreak of the disease in inland areas, we’ve decided to raise our crisis management system to the highest level,” the Agriculture Ministry said. “An alert level for the disease will be kept at ‘warning,’ the second highest level. But we are prepared for a situation at the highest level, and our minister is leading a countermeasure center for foot-and-mouth disease.”

Prime Minister Chung Un-chan held yesterday a meeting of relevant ministries on quarantine and support measures for affected farms. The government said in a statement, “To curb the spread of the disease and remove it from the country, disinfection of vehicles and controlling their movements are inevitable,” adding, “We advise people to refrain from traveling to affected areas or visiting affected farms.”

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