FMD eases in one area, no letup in another

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FMD eases in one area, no letup in another

Although the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in North Gyeongsang is slowing down after last week, there is no sign of a letup in Gyeonggi, as another cattle farm in Gapyeong was confirmed to be FMD-positive yesterday.

The report comes only a day after the virus was detected in Goyang, Gyeonggi, on Monday.

The number of farms in Gyeonggi with the highly contagious disease for cloven-hoofed animals amounted to five areas, including Gapyeong as of yesterday, followed by Yangju, Yeoncheon, Paju and Goyang.

Concerns over the spread of the disease keep mounting because Gapyeong is located only 14 kilometers from the boundary with Gangwon, which boasts the best Korean beef brands in the country. In addition, it is highly likely to penetrate into Seoul.

A total of 57 FMD-suspicious cases have been received by the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the illness has been confirmed in 38 cases. Two other reports of suspected FMD were accepted by the ministry yesterday.

Health officials said one cow raised at a cattle farm in Pyeonchang, Gangwon, displayed FMD-like symptoms and the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service conducted an epidemiology study yesterday. Another suspicious case of the virus showed up in deer at a livestock farm in Cheonan, South Chungcheong.

Meanwhile, the Gyeonggi Provincial Office is in the process of banning foreign workers from FMD-infected countries from employment in the livestock industry because the workers are seen as a source of infection, according to the provincial office. Currently, there are about 1,200 foreigners working for livestock farms in the region, excluding illegal immigrants. The workers are mostly from China and Vietnam, where FMD cases have been reported.

The provincial office is developing a plan for mandatory documentation when industry-related personnel visit livestock farms, including veterinarians, workers who handle and dispose of livestock semen and drivers of feed vehicles.

There are also proposals for other measures, such as making it mandatory to lock farm entry gates and mandatory sterilization for those who work in the livestock industry after traveling abroad.

FMD cannot be transmitted from animals to humans or visa versa.

By Jeon Ik-jin, Yoo Sun-young []
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