Gov’t. won’t yet declare end of FMD outbreak

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Gov’t. won’t yet declare end of FMD outbreak

The government said yesterday that it will delay declaring an end to the livestock foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Korea for about a month to prevent a recurrence of the highly contagious disease.

Under current standard operating procedures, many countries worldwide announce the end of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak three weeks after the last infected animals have been culled and buried.

Korea confirmed its first outbreak of the disease in eight years on Jan. 7 and its last case on Jan. 30.

Quarantine officials culled and buried 5,960 animals last month to prevent the spread of the disease that has affected the movement of animals in the country and stopped all exports of meat and dairy products.

“The government’s decision is based on concerns that the virus that caused the outbreak may have survived the unseasonably cold weather this year,” an official at the agriculture ministry said.

The virus that can cause the disease has an incubation period of two weeks but can survive longer under certain conditions.

The disease affects all cloven-hoofed animals, such as cattle, hogs, goats and deer, causing blisters on the feet and mouths of livestock and sometimes leading to death. It is classified as a “List A” contagious disease by the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health.

The agriculture ministry, meanwhile, said it has lifted most restrictions on the movement of animals and vehicles around the country, but will maintain tightened observation around areas that reported outbreaks as a precaution.

Yonhap

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