Posted December. 16, 2010 10:49,
Foot and mouth disease that originated in North Gyeongsang Province has spread to Gyeonggi Province.
The Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Wednesday that a close inspection by the National Veterinary and Quarantine Service confirmed additional cases of the disease at two pig farms in Yangju and Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province.
Since the disease was first detected on Nov. 29 in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, it has spread to areas outside the province. The two pig farms in Gyeonggi, which raise some 1,200 pigs each, have the same owner.
Suspected symptoms at a Korean cattle farm in Yecheon County, North Gyeongsang Province, are also confirmed to be those of foot and mouth disease.
The government has begun culling cows and pigs within a 500-meter radius from the affected farms. This has raised the number of slaughtered animals to 169,087, breaking the previous national high of 160,155 in 2002.
Quarantine authorities are also inspecting a milk cow farm in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, 15 kilometers from an affected farm in Yeoncheon. The farm reported suspected symptoms to authorities the same day.
The investigation on how the disease spread from North Gyeongsang to Gyeonggi has failed to find a clear epidemiological connection, however.
The ministry said, Foreign workers who worked in Gunwi, North Gyeongsang Province, began working at the affected farm in Yeoncheon on Dec. 3, but Gunwi is not among the suspected areas for the disease, adding, Given that only antigens of affected cows in both Yangju and Yeoncheon tested positive for the disease, they were recently infected with the virus.
The government is also investigating a possible outbreak of a different form of the disease from that detected in North Gyeongsang. The final results will come out Thursday.
With the disease spreading across the nation, the government is under fire for poor quarantine procedures since it set up no quarantine checkpoints until Tuesday in Gyeonggi.