Foot-and-mouth spreading further

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Foot-and-mouth spreading further

Korea confirmed an additional case of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) yesterday at a cattle farm northwest of Seoul, indicating that the disease has effectively spread across the country despite extensive quarantine efforts.

The latest case was found at a farm in Goyang, a city adjacent to the capital, where local authorities detected animals showing symptoms such as excessive drooling and blisters on the tongue Sunday, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.

“All 53 heads of cattle on the farm have been culled to prevent further spread of the disease,” it said.

The report comes a day after the disease was confirmed at a farm in Paju, 7.5 kilometers north of the latest outbreak, and six days after pig farms in Yangju and Yeoncheon had confirmed FMD cases. The outbreaks in Yangju and Yeoncheon north of Seoul marked the first time the disease was confirmed outside of North Gyeongsang Province, where authorities verified the first case on Nov. 29.

Korea has so far reported 54 suspected cases, 37 of which have been confirmed positive. In four other cases, the cattle were destroyed as precautionary measures before positive test results were confirmed.

Over 194,000 animals have been destroyed or are subject to culling, the largest number in the country’s history of the disease.

Seoul, which reported its first FMD case in 2000, was hit again in 2002 and two more times earlier this year.

The highly contagious disease affects all cloven-hoofed animals, such as cattle, pigs, deer, goats and buffalo, and is classified as a “List A” disease by the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health.

Countries that report an outbreak are barred from exporting meat from animals that can be affected by the disease though the virus itself and meat from affected animals are not harmful to humans.

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