Solution Needed for Foot-and-Mouth Disease

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Solution Needed for Foot-and-Mouth Disease

The government has confirmed the presence of foot-and-mouth disease in Paju, Kyunggi province, for the first time in this country in 66 years. Hongsong, South Chungchong province has also reported cases. Foot-and-mouth disease, though harmless to humans, has an enormous impact on the country's farm industry and the government should take appropriate measures to control its spread.

In Taiwan, foot-and-mouth disease appeared in 1997 in pigs. As a result, all pork exports stopped and the resulting fall in demand cost Taiwan close to $38 billion.

Stopping the spread of foot-and-mouth disease should be the government's foremost concern. After an animal contracts the disease, there is no cure and the only alternative is to slaughter it. The source of the epidemic should be traced and more studies are needed.

For farmers, reporting symptoms among their livestock should not be delayed. In Hongsong, farmers waited ten days after the syptoms first appeared before related officials were notified.

Short-term measures are needed to ease panic among this country's farmers, with long-term plans to prevent another outbreak.

Some farmers in Hongsong shipped livestock en masse upon reports of foot-and-mouth disease in the region, lowering prices and increasing the chances for a larger epidemic.

In order to prevent a worst-case scenario, the government has to present immediate countermeasures. The government must provide scientific information to the public and head an international effort to prevent another occurence and to develop a vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease.

by Robin Rhee

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