Fourth farm is infected with foot-and mouth virus

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Fourth farm is infected with foot-and mouth virus

Another farm was hit by the foot-and mouth-disease on Thursday, raising the total to four.

The farm is located in Boeun, North Chungcheong, the same area as where the first outbreak was seen this year - only 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles) away, according to the Chungcheong provincial government on Thursday.

Since the first infection was confirmed Sunday, four farms have been infected, defying the government’s efforts to contain the spread.

The third outbreak on a farm in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi, was a different strain from the first two.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the virus on the Yeoncheon farm was type A whereas the two other farms in Boeun and Jeongeup, North Jeolla were type O.

Type O was the more common strain found in cases since 2000. The last time type A was detected was in January 2010, when six cattle farms in Pocheon were infected. That outbreak resulted in the burying of nearly 6,000 cattle from 55 farms.

This is the first time in which two different strain of foot-and-mouth disease have spread simultaneously.

The Korean government only has vaccines that produce antibodies against both type O and type A strains for 1.93 million cattle.

The government said it requested emergency supplies from a British company, which may take roughly a week to arrive.

“When type A virus broke out in 2010, we weren’t vaccinating and as a result we don’t have much information about the strain,” said Kim Kyung-kyu, the agriculture ministry’s food industry policy division director. “We are waiting on a genetic analysis on whether the O+A vaccine we have is effective on the type A virus found on the farm in Yeoncheon.”

Since the second farm tested positive, the government tried to contain the spread of the disease.

On Monday the government ordered a 30 hour lockdown on traveling in and out of cattle farms.

Additionally all livestock were prohibited since Monday from being transported in or out of North Chungcheong and North Jeolla until Feb. 13.

The government has also started a vaccination of all 3.3 million cattle. The government has culled a total of 816 cattle on the three farms that were infected as well as those on neighboring farms.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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