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Additional FMD case found in central S. Korea

Jan. 18, 2011 - 14:53 By 문예빈
South Korea confirmed an additional case of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the country's central region on Tuesday, though nationwide vaccinations and quarantine efforts are having some effect on containing the disease.

The additional case at a pig farm in Yesan, 134 kilometers south of Seoul, brings the total number of confirmed FMD outbreaks to 121, since animals started showing symptoms in late November, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.

The latest outbreak comes after no confirmed case was tallied by the central government on Monday, while only one outbreak was reported on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

All 3,000 pigs on the farm have been ordered destroyed along with livestock within a 500-meter radius of the site to prevent further spread of the disease, the ministry said.

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 Organization for Animal Health, although it is harmless to humans.

The disease, meanwhile, has forced Seoul to cull and bury over 2.1 million heads of cattle, pigs, goats and deer with damage estimated to run to around 2 trillion won (US$1.78 billion).

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

Seoul said last week that it will vaccinate all livestock across the country, including those on Jeju Island off the country southwestern 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. (Yonhap News)