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‘Ganghwa Farmer Spread Foot and Mouth Disease’

Posted May. 18, 2010 04:42,   


The foot-and-mouth disease outbreak that originated in Ganghwa County of Incheon might have been spread by a farmer who recently visited China.

The epidemiologic investigation committee of the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service said this Monday in its interim report on the outbreak.

The committee said the disease might have spread to Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, and Cheongyang County, South Chungcheong Province, due to the movement of people and vehicles.

“Foot-and-mouth disease is highly likely to have occurred in Ganghwa because of a farmer who visited a Northeast Asian nation that recently saw an outbreak of the disease,” the committee said. The phrase “a Northeast Asian nation that saw an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease” was used instead of specifically mentioning China.

The committee said the disease virus spread through Ganghwa due to vehicles carrying feed and meetings of farmers. It also explained how the disease hit Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province, saying, “The farmer whose farm was the first to be affected by the disease in Gimpo visited Ganghwa April 5. He then met Ganghwa farmers April 8.”

April 8 is also when the first infection of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak was confirmed. The disease spread due to lack of farmers’ efforts to abide by the government’s preventive measures.

Shortly after the spread, the government asked farmers to sterilize every vehicle and person visiting their farms and to refrain from meeting other farmers. Farmers in at-risk areas did not abide by the request, however.

Committee chairman Kim Bong-hwan said, “At the time, the government emphasized preventive measures against the disease and close cooperation by farmers. If farmers had followed the government’s request, they could have prevented the disease from spreading to other areas, including Chungju.”