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South Korea Detects Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Hog Farm for the First Time in 9 Months

By January 14, 2016 at 6:15 am
South Korea Detects Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Hog Farm for the First Time in 9 Months (Photo : Christopher Furlong | Getty Images News)

SOUTH KOREA - For the first time in nine months, South Korean quarantine officials have detected foot-and-mouth disease in a southwestern hog farm, the government confirmed the case on Tuesday.

According to the report of The Korea Times, the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency or QIA verified the pigs at a hog farm located in the city of Gimje tested positive with the infectious foot-and-mouth disease that affects and sometimes causes death to cloven-hoofed animals.

Furthermore, the agency said the country has raised the alert level from "Blue" (indicating a normal situation) to "Yellow" that is the third heightened level of South Korea's four-level alert system dealing with contagious outbreaks. Quarantine officials have been deployed to the hog farm, restricting and inspecting the movements of animals and vehicles.

Raising 670 pigs, the farm was discovered with 30 animals having the symptoms of the disease on Monday. The livestock animals on the farm have been controlled as a preventive measure from spreading the viral disease farther. QIA also said that 118 farms raising livestock located within a three-kilometer radius have been prevented from moving their animals to other farms.

"Since a large number of animals in the country have already been given FMD vaccines, there is little risk of the disease spreading nationwide," a quarantine official said.

According to the report of Reuters, South Korea has been struggling to contain foot-and-mouth disease after it was reportedly found out in July 2014, causing fears on the country's food safety and affecting the livestock industry as it also faced with bird flu outbreak. Despite having no new cases since April 2015, authorities are being pushed to give extra effort to make sure it does not become worse.

Since 2002, South Korea has experienced six reported outbreaks of foot-and-mouth with three outbreaks that occurred in 2010.

As effort to contain the disease, the country has already spent about 3.04 trillion won for decontamination and compensation for the losses that farmers had encountered.

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