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Suspected foot-and-mouth case reported on cattle farm

All Headlines 19:40 April 08, 2010

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- A suspected case of foot-and-mouth disease was reported Thursday from a cattle farm on an island off the western coast of South Korea, the farm ministry said.

Ten cattle on the farm on Ganghwa Island in Incheon, west of Seoul, have developed blisters on the mouth, one of symptoms for the disease, quarantine authorities said.

The report prompted experts from the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service to conduct both on-site and laboratory tests.

"The test results will not become available until Friday," said Lee Sang-soo, head of the ministry's animal health division, adding quarantine officials took measures to seal off the area around the farm. At present, authorities do not have any plans to cull the animals.

Under the country's standing operating rules, quarantine officials can order animals to be culled if they suspect they have been contaminated with the disease.

The farm, which raises 150 indigenous cattle called "hanwoo," is located in the central part of the island, about 58 kilometers away from the capital city.

The report of the suspected case came after Seoul officially declared it was "clear" of the disease on March 23.

Foot-and-mouth disease affects all cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, hogs, deer and goats.

The government had culled and buried 5,956 cattle to prevent the spread of the disease at a cost of 42.5 billion won (US$37.4 million). This year's outbreak, first confirmed on Jan. 7, is the third reported in the country. South Korea was also hit by the disease in 2000 and 2002.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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